Do you or have you ever suffered with low back pain? What are the common causes? This is an important article that could make the world of difference to you.
“Low back pain is now the number one cause of disability globally” (1)
Low back pain affects many people, with significant negative impacts on work capacity as well as the overall wellbeing of an individual. Coupled with escalating health care costs, low back pain frequently results in a significant effect on physical and psychological health, and a decline in the performance of social responsibilities including work and family (2)
Some common causes include:
By improving body posture and adopting spine-friendly movements, load on the spine can be significantly decreased. Studies on the effects of such programs have found long-term positive results in decreased intensity of pain and disability, improving spine functions, fewer recurrent LBP episodes and a decreasing number of days off through low back pain (3).
How you sleep plays an important role in managing back pain, as certain positions place more strain on the back than others. Studies show that a medium firm mattress improved musculoskeletal pain and modified sleep (4). Newer bedding systems increased sleep quality and reduced back discomfort (5).
Alteration of foot position can influence pelvic alignment and the activity of important muscles when walking (6). In a large study, findings indicate that pronated foot function (rolled in foot or flat foot), is significantly associated with low back pain in women after adjusting for age, weight, smoking and depressive symptoms.
Inappropriate lifting and carrying of heavy loads:
Lifting things without bending your legs and keeping your back straight, puts a lot of strain on the lower back.
The role of psychological distress in the development of low back pain has been highlighted by a number of research authors. Factors such as anxiety and depression, catastrophizing, kinesophobia (fear of movement), and somatization (the expression of distress as physical symptoms or their persistence) have been suggested as risk factors for low back pain in prospective studies in adults and children. (2)
Employment and workplace factors, both physical and psychological, have been associated with low back pain. Heavy lifting, pushing, pulling, and prolonged walking or standing were found to be predictors of future back pain (2)
But the good news, is that if you are proactive in taking care of yourself and have these common causes in mind you can minimise the risk and duration of low back pain. Chiropractic care may benefit too, there is evidence to suggest that in patients with recurrent and persistent LBP who responds well to an initial course of manual therapy, maintenance care resulted in a reduction in number of days with bothersome LBP per week, compared with symptom-guided treatment (7).
“If we know the causes, we should be better equipped to help ourselves. In reality, our own health is in our own hands, and there is no better day to make a change in the positive direction than today…”
(1) Hartvigsen, J., Hancock, M.J., Kongsted, A., Louw, Q., Ferreira, M.L., Genevay, S., Hoy, D., Karppinen, J., Pransky, G., Sieper, J. and Smeets, R.J., 2018. What low back pain is and why we need to pay attention. The Lancet.
(2) Manchikanti, L., Singh, V., Falco, F.J., Benyamin, R.M. and Hirsch, J.A., 2014. Epidemiology of low back pain in adults. Neuromodulation: Technology at the Neural Interface, 17, pp.3-10.
(3) Jaromi M, Nemeth A, Kranicz J, Laczko T, Betlehem J. Treatment and ergonomics training of work-related lower back pain and body posture problems for nurses. J Clin Nurs. 2012 Jun;21(11-12):1776-84
(4)Ancuelle V, Zamudio R, Mendiola A, Guillen D, Ortiz PJ, Tello T, et al. Effects of an adapted mattress in musculoskeletal pain and sleep quality in institutionalized elders. Sleep Sci. 2015;8:115–120
(5)Bert H. Jacobson, Ali Boolani, Doug B. Smith. Changes in back pain, sleep quality, and perceived stress after introduction of new bedding systems. J Chiropr Med. 2009 Mar; 8(1): 1–8.
(6) Menz H. B., Dufour A. B., Riskowski J. L., Hillstrom H. J., and Hannan M. T., “Foot posture, foot function and low back pain: The Framingham foot study,” Rheumatology, vol. 52, no. 12, pp. 2275–2282, 2013
(7) Eklund, A., Jensen, I., Lohela-Karlsson, M., Hagberg, J., Leboeuf-Yde, C., Kongsted, A., Bodin, L. and Axén, I., 2018. The Nordic Maintenance Care program: Effectiveness of chiropractic maintenance care versus symptom-guided treatment for recurrent and persistent low back pain—A pragmatic randomized controlled trial. PloS one, 13(9), p.e0203029.