You are more likely to experience back problems if you are overweight, or if your back is lacking in strength, flexibility and tone. In general, living a sedentary or unhealthy lifestyle may be a key contributor to back issues. Additional causes may include:
- Muscle tension: Often caused by physical or mental stress.
- Posture-related problems: Poor posture forces muscles to be used incorrectly, which makes them tire quickly, causing muscle fatigue. Over time, the muscles that should be supporting posture become weaker and weaker.
- Sprains and strains: Sprains and strains occur if the fibres of a muscle, ligament or tendon are stretched beyond their capacity, and tear. This is often due to a sudden twisting or stretching movement, a forceful impact, or overuse of a particular joint or muscle group.
- Osteoarthritis: Osteoarthritis can cause back pain. General risk factors for osteoarthritis include getting older, being overweight or obese, a history of injury or trauma to the affected joint, and participation in sports or occupations that involve repetitive stress to the affected joint.
- Sciatica: Sciatica occurs if a disc between two vertebrae bulges or ruptures, putting pressure on the sciatic nerve. Osteoarthritis and other conditions affecting the lower spine may also cause sciatic pain by narrowing the space available for the nerve to travel through.
- Osteoporosis: Osteoporosis occurs when the bones lose calcium more quickly than it can be replaced, eventually leading to a decline in the density and mass of the bones, which makes them more susceptible to fracture. Women become particularly susceptible after menopause due to declining oestrogen levels.