What causes low back pain?

Low back pain is one of the most common conditions we see, and it is something almost everybody will experience at some stage in their life.

The first thing to recognise is that most of the time, low back pain is not caused by damage to a particular structure (eg, a disc bulge or a fracture). Research shows as little as 5% of low back pain comes from  these specific structures. The overwhelming majority of pain is defined as “non-specific low back pain”. This essentially means there is no one structure to blame.

Often pain is a reflection of many factors. For instance, poor posture, stiffness, tightness, stress, and weakness all hold the potential to cause low back pain.

For example, if someone presents with sudden acute pain, accompanied by significant muscle spasm, we can see that it is the spasm causing the pain, but also work out that what most likely led to this body response is repetitive strain on the area, such as from poor posture or poor lifting technique at work.

The above is only one example. There are many indirect causes of low back pain. Many of these factors are small things we do day after day that ultimately builds aggravation in the area, until one movement becomes ‘the straw that breaks the camel’s back’, so to speak.

To prevent pain, the best place to start is addressing some of these common causes. Trying to stretch regularly, stay active, and practice proper posture and manual handling are all important strategies.

If you are unsure where to begin, please contact us for an assessment.

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