Inflammatory back pain

Inflammatory back pain differs to mechanical low back pain in that it can be progressive and cause back pain and stiffness from the late teen years. The main symptoms are stiffness that takes a long time to wear off, usually worse after periods of inactivity. Most people with inflammatory back pain tell us that their symptoms are better when they are active or exercising.

As well as affecting the spine, these inflammatory conditions can affect the areas of the body where muscle and ligaments attach to bones such as the Achilles tendon, hamstrings, elbows and fingers. As with all conditions where there is prolonged inflammation, people can feel tired and quite unwell when they are in a flare. These conditions can run in families and may develop over a number of years.

Further information can be found at the sites below.

“NASS is the only charity in the UK dedicated to transforming axial SpA (AS) care in the UK.

For over 40 years we’ve been providing specialist support, advice and the most up-to-date information. We aim to empower everyone with axial spondyloarthritis (axial SpA) including ankylosing spondylitis (AS) to manage their treatment and to stay in control of their lives. We are driven to ensure that health professionals around the country deliver tailored and timely care to every patient, every time.”

Homepage | National Axial Spondyloarthritis Society (

There are other forms of inflammatory back pain which are related to psoriasis and conditions such as colitis. If you have a psoriasis or a form of colitis, condition specific information is available at Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis Alliance and Crohns and Colitis UK

Physiotherapy is recommended by NICE and aims to maintain joint function, reduce pain and improve long term health outcomes. If referred, you will work with therapists who will complete a holistic assessment and together you will develop a tailored plan to meet your needs.

When to seek advice

If you have severe pain affecting your sleep and daily activities, if you have had a serious injury or you have symptoms that have not improved with self-management, you should contact your GP practice. If you have a red, hot swollen joint please ring 111