The North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group was statutorily abolished on the 1 July 2022 and replaced by NHS Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care Board (ICB).
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Back pain is a common problem that can feel very disruptive to your life, but usually isn't caused by something serious. It usually gets better on its own in a few weeks or months and you may not need help, but it's a good idea to see a health professional if:

  • the pain doesn't start to improve within a few weeks
  • the pain stops you doing your day-to-day activities
  • the pain is very severe or gets worse over time
  • you're worried about the pain or are struggling to cope.

Most back pain does get better if:within 6-8 weeks without seeing a medical professional if you:

  • Keep Active
  • Keep moving
  • Stay at work or return to work as soon as possible
  • Take painkillers as required.
  • Adapt activities as you need to.

If it doesn’t start improving within a few weeks then self-refer to Physiotherapy. Remember it can take 6-12 weeks to get better.

In Colchester and Tendring, it's easy to refer yourself to physiotherapy for back pain. Physiotherapists are currently available across north east Essex in Colchester, Harwich, Clacton and Mersea. 

What to expect from physiotherapy for back pain

Once you self-refer, you will be sent some exercises and advice to try and if required, an appointment will be booked to see a Physiotherapist.

Your physiotherapist will assess and discuss a treatment plan and goals wilth you.

Physiotherapy aims to:

  • Provide education and information about specific conditions
  • Relieve, prevent and manage pain and physical impairments
  • Improve muscle strength and mobility
  • Improve basic functions such as standing and walking
  • Rehabilitate gait and mobility
  • Provide rehabilitation post operatively
  • Provide rehabilitation post trauma
  • Manage the symptoms of soft tissue and joint injuries
  • Signposting to external agencies for further support

How to self-refer

It's easy to refer yourself to physiotherapy services. You can call 03330 433 966 or visit the self-referral website -

Things to try at home

The following tips may help reduce your backache and speed up your recovery - if you are under a physiotherapist it would be best to check if these are suitable for you:

  • stay as active as possible and try to continue your daily activities – this is one of the most important things you can do, as resting for long periods is likely to make the pain worse
  • try exercises and stretches for back pain; other activities such as walking, swimming, yoga and pilates may also be helpful
  • take anti-inflammatory painkillers, such as ibuprofen – remember to check the medicine is safe for you to take first and ask a pharmacist if you're not sure
  • use hot or cold compression packs for short-term relief – you can buy these from your local pharmacy, or a hot water bottle and a bag of frozen vegetables wrapped in a cloth will work just as well
  • Read 'All you ever wanted to know about back pain' by Dr Mary O'Keeffe for information that may be helpful
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