The Top 15 Common Causes of Back Pain

Woman sitting on a table while touching her back in a medical room

It’s estimated that 80 percent of the U.S. population suffers from back pain on a regular basis, yet too often, people wait until the paint is acute or lasting before they search for help, and then visit a MD or hospital where they are given prescription painkillers to mask the problem, not cure it. So it’s more important than ever to examine the actual root causes of back pain, which will allow us to help prevent it and treat it at its cause.

Here are 15 common causes or contributors to back pain:

  1. Aging

No one has ever won their battle with Father Time, and unfortunately, getting to middle age increases the prevalence of back pain, too. Usually, people start feeling back pain in their 30s and 40s and it could get worse if they don’t do something to treat the cause – not just mask the symptoms.

  1. Poor fitness

When you’re out of shape and don’t exercise regularly, your muscles atrophy, your flexibility diminishes, and back pain very well could emerge.

  1. Being overweight

When people are overweight – and especially obese – they force the body to carry around extra weight that it is not equipped to handle, and the knees and back usually suffer.

  1. It’s in the genes

Some people have a hereditary predisposition towards some conditions that cause back pain, like ankylosing spondylitis, a form of arthritis that affects the spine.

  1. Disease

Some diseases can cause back pain, like scoliosis, arthritis, kidney stones, endometriosis, fibromyalgia, as well as infection, cancer and tumors.

  1. Exertion on the job

If you have to lift big boxes, operate machinery at awkward angles, or otherwise do repetitive or unwieldy tasks that twist your spine, you will inevitably feel it.

  1. Smoking

Nicotine inhibits blood flow to vertebrae and disks, so they could age and break down more rapidly. Regular smoking also prevents the disks in your spine from getting enough nutrients and calcium, as well as inhibiting the body’s ability to heal back pain.

  1. Race

Some racial groups are prone to back pain. For instance, African American women are two to three times more likely than white women to have their lower spine slip out of place.

  1. Sitting at the desk

Even if you don’t think you’re doing anything to compromise your back at work, just sitting at your desk all day at the incorrect angle or with bad posture can cause serious back issues.

  1. Text neck

Dubbed “text neck,” the occurrence of people looking down and leaning into their phones, tablets, etc. at an awkward angle that puts stress on the neck, shoulders, and back has reached epidemic proportions. In fact, for every inch that your head is leaning forward due to gravitational forces, it’s an additional 10 pounds!

  1. Auto accidents

The most common injury suffered in auto accidents is whiplash, which can hurt the supporting muscles, ligaments and other connective tissues in the neck and upper back – often with long-term or chronic manifestations.

  1. Sleeping on your stomach

Sleeping on your belly places undue pressure on your joints, muscles and disks. To avoid back pain, sleep on your side or back, which elongates your spine and keeps it in a neutral position.

13.   Stress

There is a strong connection between your emotions and the physical symptoms they manifest, and the same is true of back pain. Acute or prolonged stress causes tension in the muscles, joints, inhibits proper neurological function, and even lowers the immune system.

  1. The wrong shoes

We all know that stilettos and tall high-heels can wreak havoc on your feet, ankles, calves, and cause back problems over time, but in fact, sandals and flip-flops may do the same. Flat shoes like those offer little or no arch support, which can cause back, knee, and foot problems of their own.

  1. Being too sedentary

Doing nothing can cause back problems, too, especially for people who feel mild back discomfort or pain but over-rest it by staying bed ridden or laying down for days. In fact, low-impact activities like walking, light yoga or swimming boost circulation to the back muscles, which aids recovery.