Common causes of back pain

If you currently suffer from back pain you are not alone. According to Dr. Hayden Thomas, Chiropractor and President for the New Zealand Chiropractors’ Association, approximately 80% of all people will suffer some kind of back pain in their lives. 

Poor posture combined with sedentary lifestyle are the most common problems affecting spinal health. This is a growing concern as increased technology use, especially of hand-held devices, is having an even greater impact on people’s posture and spinal health across all ages. Learning to sit up straight, moving often and ensuring devices are used in a neutral spinal position are all ways to help minimise the problem. Regular stretching such as the Straighten Up New Zealand programme to help your body naturally align itself is something we can all benefit from. Your family chiropractor is trained to help you achieve better posture, alignment and spinal health.

Weight: Your weight plays an important role in back pain prevention. Being overweight, especially in the mid-section, pulls the pelvis forward, straining the lower back which can cause lower back pain. People with excess weight may also experience sciatica and low back pain from a herniated disc or from a pinched nerve if the discs have been damaged from compensating for the extra weight. 

Posture: Posture affects every area of your daily life and is the key to preventing back pain. Thus requires a conscious effort and commitment to maintain your posture doing the day. 

Stress: Mental and emotional stress can be damaging to your back and can set you up for a serious back injury and if left un-treated. Stress affects our natural ability to relax and the body becomes chronically tense in preparation for a real or perceived stressful event. This can then generate significant muscle tightness in the lower back which occurs as the body tries to stabilise the spine. 

Lifting techniques: Proper lifting is important to ensure you are able to move or carry something safely without back pain. Improper lifting can lead to back, leg and arm pain and also cause both acute injury, and serious chronic effects. 

Smoking: Smokers are three times more likely to develop lower back pain than non-smokers. The nicotine in cigarettes causes thickening of the walls in the blood vessels which then circulate the flow of blood to the muscles that protect the vertebrae, nerves and discs. 

There are almost as many ways to prevent back pain as there are bad behaviours that cause it. If you make these suggestions part of your everyday routine, your back should be strong and healthy. 

We recommend consulting with a health professional such as a physiotherapist to determine what is causing your back problems so you can work together to find a suitable solution. 

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