Low back pain is often triggered by some
combination of overuse, muscle strain, or injury to the muscles and ligaments
that support the spine. Less commonly, low back pain is caused by illness
or spinal deformity.
A risk factor is something that increases your chances of having back pain.
More risk factors means you have a higher chance of having back pain.
Risk factors that you cannot change include:
- Being middle-aged (risk drops after age 65).
- Being male.
- Having a family history of back pain.
- Having had a previous back injury.
- Being pregnant. A woman's back is significantly stressed by
carrying a baby.
- Having had
compression fractures of the spine.
- Having had previous back surgery.
- Having spine problems since birth (congenital spine problems).
Risk factors that you can change with lifestyle changes or medical
- Not getting regular exercise.
- Doing a job or other activity that requires long periods of sitting,
lifting heavy objects, bending or twisting, repetitive motions, or constant
vibration, such as using a jackhammer or driving certain types of heavy
- Smoking. Smokers are more likely than nonsmokers to have
low back pain.
- Being overweight. Excess body
weight, especially around the waist, may put strain on your back, although
this has not been proven. But being overweight often also means being in poor
physical condition, with weaker muscles and less flexibility. These can lead to
low back pain.
- Having poor posture. Slumping or slouching alone may not cause low back
pain, but after the back has been strained or injured, bad posture can make
- Being under stress. Stress and other emotional factors are believed to play
a major role in low back pain, particularly chronic low back pain. Many people
unconsciously tighten their back muscles when they are under stress.
- Having long periods of
- Using medicines long-term that weaken bones, such as
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