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Causes of Low Back Pain


With the incidence of low back pain in America at epidemic proportions, affecting 8 out of 10 Am ericans, few of us are immune. Here, we look at the risk factors to provide insight for you to lower the severity or chance of low back pain affecting you.

Overexertion and Strenuous Movement

The cause for up to 80% of low back pain is attributed to over use, repeated or strenuous use of our muscles. This can occur from occupational, sports, recreational or simply everyday use of our back muscles and vertebral joints. When muscles work harder or longer than they should, it causes strain or sprain, which is the cause of most low back pain. Obviously the severity and duration of back pain differs widely, leading to different diagnoses and prognoses for full or partial recovery.

Injury And Accidents

Injuries and accidents are a leading cause of back pain. An accident is an occurrence that is unforeseen. We fail to prevent them, hence we call them accidents. Again, accidents and injuries can occur during the activities mentioned above. Or from a vehicle accident or work related activity. Lumped into this category are any and all activities in which an accident may arise to produce injury and back pain.


Age And Gender

Other than the obvious, there is little to distinguish age as a risk factor, as opposed to the factors listed above. Fact is back pain is seen in the young and old. Overexertion, strenuous movement, injuries and accidents serve as the common denominators among back pain sufferers of all ages. Up to age 60 the risk is the same for both men and women. However, after that, there is a higher risk among women to suffer back pain due largely to Osteoporosis, which affects more woman than men

Health Status And Dietary Factors

The status of your body in terms of your strength, your immune system and your overall healthy state of being, is a factor affecting the incidence of back pain. Any condition that reduces your ability to exercise and increase your strength is a factor leading to higher incidence for back problems. Such conditions as cardiac stress, respiratory conditions, or obesity, puts you at higher risk. Those with poor family health history and who maintain poor health and dietary habits or ingest more toxins such as alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, refined sugars, etc., are at higher risk. Smokers are at a higher risk of back pain than non-smokers.

Canal Size And Shape Of Spine

The size of the spinal space – the canal inside your spine - is a congenital factor, meaning that you are born with a predisposed opening for the spinal nerve and root. The larger the opening, the more room and less incidence for pinching of the nerves. Some people have a congenitally smaller opening (stenosis) and in some cases, stenosis is caused as a result of changed following overuse, strenuous movement, injury and accident.



We all experience stress and other psychological factors in our lives. Stress is OK, if you can handle it. But, when stress overcomes you, it puts you at higher risk in regards to health related disorders. One of the risks is a higher incidence for back pain. Another stress factor referred to as “Post Traumatic Stress Related Disorder” after injury, is seen among people who lose productivity, whether job, sports or recreationally related. People have higher esteem when they are more productive. Stress has sometimes been said to be one of the most common occurrences seen with back pain. One who experiences back pain may also experience changes in sleep patterns, loss of appetite and resulting fatigue. When under substantial stress, you may also see a change in the person’s posture, resulting in changes to the body’s normal “center of gravity” exerting even more pressure to the disc and nerve structures. If this leads to depression, it can cause the person to take poor care of him or herself, resulting in a deconditioning and causing even weaker muscles. Chronic pain – pain for more than 3 months – results in decreases of certain brain chemicals such as serotonin. When these chemicals are not maintained by your body at the proper level, it leads to a gradual onset of depression and anxiety! Reduction of chronic pain has been shown to decrease depression and anxiety.

Take the first step to a healthier and better life:
call Dr. Richard K. Skala today!


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