Risk Factors for Low Back Pain

images-1Are you at risk of developing low back pain?

There are certain disease processes that can be a cause low back pain, such as certain types of arthritis.

Beyond these conditions, there are other known risk factors for developing low back pain.  How many risk factors do you have?  Some you can prevent, and some you can not.  Being able to identify your risk helps you to mitigate the chance of developing this issue.

If you would like more information on preventing low back pain, please click here.

  1. AGE
    The first episode of low back pain most frequently occurs between age 30-50.  Back pain is more common in older age groups.  As people age, muscular strength declines, bone density slowly diminishes and body water content reduces.  The intervertebral disc height lowers as well as general tone and flexibility, reducing soft tissue cushioning and increasing impact on the spine.  Spinal stenosis increases with age.
  2. FITNESS
    Back pain is more common in people who are not physically fit.  Maintaining whole body strength and flexibility is a great way to decrease your risk.  People who suddenly increase their activity level may perform tasks their body isn’t adapted to, increasing risk of injury.  Lack of preparation, including no warm up is another risk factor.
  3. HORMONES
    Pregnancy is a known risk factor for developing back and pelvic pain.  Most cases resolve soon after birth.
  4. WEIGHT
    Being overweight or obese places more pressure on all structures of the spine leading to increased wear and tear over time.
  5. GENETICS
    Some medical conditions run in families, which increase the risk of back pain, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
  6. OCCUPATION
    Work requiring heavy lifting, repetitive twisting or other movements, poor ergonomics and other occupational hazards such as vibration (machinery use) can increase the likelihood of developing low back pain.
  7. MENTAL HEALTH
    Pre-existing mental health issues may contribute to peoples sense or perception of pain.  Chronic pain can also have an effect on peoples mental health.
  8. POSTURE
    Poor seated or standing posture can be a predisposing factor to developing back pain.
  9. BACKPACK OVERLOAD
    An under-recognised cause of low back pain in children.
    All back pain in children should be taken seriously.  Do not assume this is the cause of pain.  Please seek advice from a health professional for all paediatric back pain.
    Please note – it is recommended that a back pack does not exceed 15-20% of the child’s body weight.

The list above is only to be considered a guide and is not intended as individualised advice.  Please seek further assistance if you need help and guidance for your back pain.

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