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What causes back pain and who is at risk?

Causes of Back Pain

Pain from the back may have a single cause, such as a direct injury or simply over doing things, generally however it is more likely to have crept up on you over time through stress and strain on the back. Occasionally, back pain may be caused by pressure on the nerves in the spine, usually from a damaged or bulging vertebral disc. Sciatic pain or referred pain in your legs or arms originates from your spine.

Medical practitioners will often refer to the lumbar vertebrae, which are the last 5 vertebrae in the base of your spine, or the muscles of the lower back. Pain coming from this area is often due to spasms or stiffness in the muscles that run along the spine and can extend to the buttocks or thighs. More often than not this type of pain is self-resolving within a 6 week period.

The days when Doctors suggested total bed rest have now been replaced by "keep moving".

General causes of back pain include:

  • Poor posture
  • Sedentary lifestyle and lack of exercise
  • Prolonged standing or bending at work
  • Badly designed seating, especially during sedentary work
  • Stress

In addition to the lifestyle conditions above, there are a number of medical conditions that directly affect the spine and can cause severe pain which can be aggravated when sitting.Women can experience back strain and pain during pregnancy or during menstruation. Also pelvic inflammatory disease, certain uterine and ovarian problems have associated back pain for women.