Acute low back pain

Lumbar pain

Acute low back pain is a common problem – though it may not make you feel any better to know that. It will affect four out of five Australians at some time in their lives.

Find out more about how to manage low back pain, medicines to use, and why scans are unlikely to help.

Resources for health professionals  

These resources are for health professionals. Please do not use these resources without the assistance of a health professional.

  • Back pain choices
    NPS MedicineWise together with the George Institute have devised an online tool to help in the management of acute low back pain. The Back Pain Choices tool steps through the clinical assessment of back pain and enables users to build a customised patient information sheet.
  • Symptomatic management pad
    A pad designed to help health professionals provide advice to their patients on the symptomatic management of acute low back pain.
  • Poster
    An A3 poster advising patients that X-rays and other scans rarely help to treat acute low back pain.
  • Seminar
    This seminar enables health professionals and NPS facilitators to provide evidence-based information about the appropriate management of acute low back pain to community groups.

Related information - back pain (acute low)


(Medical test)
12 May 2015 Low back pain: read Karen’s story to find out why X-rays are not commonly recommended for acute low back pain, what you can do, and what signs indicate you may need imaging
(Medical test)
12 May 2015 Find out when MRI is less useful for the diagnosis or management of your medical condition..
(Consumer publication)
01 Oct 2014 An Australian study made headlines around the world with a surprise finding that paracetamol is not effective for acute low back pain. So what does the trial tell us, and what is the best way to manage acute low back pain?
For health professionals (Health professional publication)
23 Sep 2014 A recent Australian trial suggests paracetamol is really no better than placebo for acute low back pain? Read about implications for practice, including a Q&A with Professor Rachelle Buchbinder.
(Consumer publication)
27 Jun 2014 Is acupuncture effective for pain relief?
For health professionals (Health professional publication)
22 May 2014 Recent newspaper articles about a trial of acupuncture for pain relief in Australian emergency departments reported that it was as effective as drugs. While these reports provoked criticism for pre-empting peer-reviewed publication, is there other evidence for a benefit in pain conditions?
For health professionals (Health professional publication)
11 Mar 2014 Examines media reports on the role of health assessments, if we are treating back pain appropriately and the risk of ADHD from paracetamol.
(Medical test)
28 Jun 2013 Some tests and imaging types may be more useful than others in people suffering from back pain.
17 May 2013 Find out about Nurofen Back Pain Caplets. Plus information and tips on how to use medicines wisely and safely.
15 Nov 2012 There are effective ways for you to relieve acute lower back pain and help with your recovery. These include staying active, thinking positively, and controlling the pain.