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What is the outlook for back pain?

For most people the outlook is good, with 75–90% recovering within a few weeks. However, the pain does tend to come back every now and then.

Among people who seek medical help for their back pain, around two-thirds have some pain a year later, although over 90% are able to work. If your back problem has been present for a long time then the symptoms are more likely to persist, and only a third of people make a full recovery a year later. However, despite symptoms, most people manage to lead a normal life and stay at work with the right pain relief and exercise.

There’s also evidence to suggest that how you respond emotionally to having back pain has an important impact on how quickly you get better. Your doctor may therefore ask about your mood, feelings or sleep patterns and it's important to talk openly about any worries you have. 

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