Back pain is a common problem that affects many people at some point in their lives. It can range from a dull ache to a sharp, debilitating pain and can be caused by a variety of factors. 

When you are suffering from back pain, it is useful to know what is likely to be causing it so that you can better treat it and get the support you need to manage your pain more effectively.

That being the case, below, we will take a look at some of the most common causes of back pain and what you can do to help reduce your symptoms.

Poor posture

One of the most common causes of back pain is poor posture. Sitting or standing in the same position for long periods of time can lead to muscle strain and tension in the back. This is especially true if you are slouching or have poor posture while sitting at a desk or computer. To alleviate this type of back pain, it’s important to take frequent breaks to stretch and move around. It’s also helpful to invest in a supportive chair and to make sure your workstation is set up correctly to promote good posture.

Large breasts

If you are a woman who has larger than average breasts, then the effort that it takes for your body to support them could actually be causing you to have significant backache, especially as you get older. Breast reduction surgery cost averages have become more reasonable in recent years, so having surgery to make your breasts smaller is a real option o alleviating your back pain.

If you do not want to go through surgery, then wearing extremely supportive sports bras can help somewhat with this kind of back pain too, so you do have options and you do not have to continue suffering.


Another common cause of back pain is injury or trauma. This can include anything from a sports injury to a car accident. Injuries to the back can cause damage to the muscles, ligaments, or vertebrae, leading to pain and discomfort. Treatment for this type of back pain will vary depending on the severity of the injury and may include physical therapy, medication, or even surgery.

Repetitive motions

Overuse is another common cause of back pain. Repetitive motions such as lifting heavy objects, bending, or twisting can put a lot of strain on the back muscles, leading to pain and stiffness. This type of back pain is common in people who have jobs that require a lot of physical labor, such as construction workers or movers. To alleviate this type of back pain, it’s important to use proper form and technique when lifting or performing repetitive motions.


Another common cause of back pain is arthritis. Arthritis is a degenerative condition that causes inflammation in the joints, including the spine. This can lead to stiffness and pain in the back, as well as limited mobility. Treatment for arthritis-related back pain may include medication, physical therapy, or even surgery in severe cases.


Sciatica is a type of back pain that is caused by irritation or compression of the sciatic nerve, which runs the length of the lower back right down your legs. Sciatica can come about as the result of many factors, such as one or more herniated discs, spinal stenosis, or degenerative disc disease. Symptoms of sciatica include pain that feels like it is shooting down the leg, numbness or tingling of the leg and weakness in the leg. Treatment for sciatica may include physical therapy, medication, or even surgery in severe cases.

Degenerative disc disease

As we age, the discs in our spine can start to degenerate, leading to a loss of cushioning between the vertebrae. This can cause pain and stiffness in the back, as well as limited mobility.

Muscle strain

Muscle strain is a common cause of back pain. Strain can occur when the muscles in the back are overworked or fatigued. This can happen from poor posture, overuse, or even from doing too much physical activity. Symptoms of muscle strain include pain, stiffness, and weakness. To alleviate this type of back pain, it’s important to rest the affected area and to apply ice to reduce inflammation. Gentle stretches can also help to loosen tight muscles.


Stress can cause muscle tension in the back, leading to pain and discomfort. Stress can also cause changes in posture and movement patterns, which can exacerbate back pain. To alleviate stress-related back pain, it’s important to find ways to manage stress, such as through exercise, meditation, or therapy.


Being overweight or obese can put a lot of strain on the back, leading to pain and discomfort. This is because the extra weight puts pressure on the spine and can cause the muscles in the back to overwork. Losing weight can help to alleviate back pain caused by obesity, so speak to your doctor about your options. Bariatric surgery is the best way to lose weight when you’re obese, but diet and exercise can help too.

Poor sleeping habits

Sleeping on an uncomfortable mattress or in an awkward position can lead to back pain. It’s important to have a supportive mattress and pillows and to try to sleep in a position that promotes good spinal alignment.


This condition causes the bones in the body to become weak and brittle, making them more susceptible to fractures. Osteoporosis can affect the spine, leading to compression fractures in the vertebrae, which can cause pain and limited mobility.


Smoking is a risk factor for back pain as it can cause degeneration of the discs in the spine and limit the blood flow to the spinal muscles. There are lots of stop-smoking charities that can help you give up the habit and dong so really could change your life.


Pregnancy can cause back pain due to the extra weight and strain on the spine. Hormonal changes during pregnancy can also loosen the ligaments in the pelvis which can lead to back pain.

In some cases, the cause of back pain may not be easily identifiable. So, it is always a good idea to work with your doctor to determine what is causing your issues. However, the above are all common causes of back pain, and may be a good place for you to start.

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