What Causes Your Back Pain?

What Causes Your Back Pain?

What are the most Common Causes of Back Pain?

Whether your back pain is acute or chronic, it is possible to get relief. Back pain that is of a chronic nature is much more difficult to treat, according to orthopedic specialists, but it is treatable. Experts consider chronic low back pain to be discomfort that persists for longer than three months. The cause of chronic back pain is often hard to pinpoint, however.

The National Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) report that acute low back pain only persists for a few days to a few weeks, and is often caused by a back injury. This pain can occur from a flare-up of arthritis or degenerative disc disease (DDD). Back pain is a universal problem, affecting millions of young, middle-aged, and older people alike.


The NINDS reports that men and women between 30 and 55 years of age have the highest incident of back problems due to a combination of risk factors that tend to present as a person reaches mid-life. By the time a person reaches middle age, the bone strength, muscle tone, and muscle elasticity has started to decline. Also the spinal discs are less flexible, which makes them unable to cushion the vertebrae of the spine as well as they once did. Back pain with leg discomfort often occurs as this degeneration makes the spinal canal narrow.


Another common cause of low back pain with associated leg discomfort is weight. People who are overweight have to carry around excessive mid-section pounds, which pull the pelvis forward and create low back stress. The sciatica that is associated with low back pain occurs when there is a herniated disc or pinched nerve that is directly associated with the weight. For back pain relief, it is advisable for an overweight person to lose the pounds through diet and exercise. This reduces back pain with leg discomfort and prevents many types of back disorders that can develop.

Sedentary Lifestyle

Another reason many people suffer with chronic back pain is due to lack of exercise or a sedentary lifestyle. This leads to increased stiffness and weak muscles. Also, people who sit or lay around often miss out on other benefits of exercise, such as increased blood flow that leads to nourishment to the muscles, ligaments, soft tissues, and even spinal discs. The discs that are not nourished often degenerate and get dry. For back pain relief, consider strengthening exercises for the low back and abdomen, which will provide you with some form of activity and get the blood flowing to the structures that need nourishment.

Sitting Posture

Many people do not understand that posture can affect the back in several ways. Back pain with leg discomfort is a common occurrence for people who sit in office chairs for long hours. Also, slouching down or sitting in a forward position will overstretch the spinal ligaments and put strain on the discs of the spine. This incorrect posture, when combined with poor workplace ergonomics, will contribute to persistent, recurring back issues. For back pain relief, consider your current sitting posture, and try to keep your back in a straight alignment for best results.


If you are under stress and do not understand how to effectively deal with it, your back pain could get worse or flare-up. Added stress will result in muscle tightness, and this can lead to significant back pain with sciatica. To prevent or treat this form of discomfort, do stress reduction activities, such as taking a short walk, doing relaxation breathing, or soaking in a hot bath.


Mayo Clinic (2013). Causes of back pain. Retrieved from: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/back-pain/multimedia/back-pain/sls-20076225

Marlene WallaceMarlene Wallace

Marlene is a seasoned RN and health writer. When not writing, Marlene enjoys gardening, traveling and volunteering at the Gardiner Museum of Ceramics in Toronto.

Apr 2, 2014
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