9 Possible Reasons Back Pain Exists

Given that The World Health Organization estimates the lifetime prevalence of non-specific back pain at 60-70%, it just makes sense to understand what could be causing it...

... and more importantly, how to start solving this problem once and for all!

Here are 9 possible reasons back pain exists.


1. Sciatica


Sciatica is technically not a diagnosis but a description for a grouping of symptoms.

Any condition that increases pressure on the lumbar nerves or directly to the sciatic nerve can cause debilitating pain.


2. Osteoarthritis


Osteoarthritis can be a byproduct of aging but also a side effect of injury and immobility.

As the cartilage between discs and joints becomes damaged, normal movement can become difficult and painful.


3. Soft Tissues


Strain and sprain injuries to the muscles and ligaments around the spine can be a common source of pain.

This type of pain is can be more diffuse and spread further into the muscles along the spine.


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4. Disc Degeneration


The deterioration of intervertebral discs can occur with the normal wear and tear of aging or can be accelerated with abnormal forces placed on the spine.

While disc degeneration is not always a cause of back pain, there is a higher incidence of chronic low back pain in those with severe disc degeneration.


5. Herniated Disk


If the spinal discs reach a point where the disc ruptures, increased pressure may be placed directly on the nerve roots or the walls of the disc can become irritated… both causing back pain.


6. Stress


It’s common to assume that pain in the back also means there’s a physical problem in that area… research continues to say “not necessarily”.

Stress can affect our levels of back pain and improved management of stress can aid in the recovery process.

In our Bio-Structural Examination we measure Heart Rate Variability


7. Smoking


Believe it or not, puffing away on a cigarette can make your back hurt even more.

Whether it is increased joint inflammation or altered blood supply, the chemicals found in cigarettes are increasing the chance you’ll suffer from back pain.


8. Hypermobility and Weakness


One of the most often missed culprits causing lower back pain is too much movement, especially in the lumbar spine. This is one of the reasons creating more movement in an already mobile lumbar spine could be detrimental.

Strengthening tissues around the spine with compound exercises such as deadlifts (yes, I said deadlifts) can be integral to the healing process.


9. Other


Of course, let’s not forget there can be many other causes of back pain.

The source of pain could be postural distortion, indigestion, a urinary tract infection, a fracture or not to scare you… even chronic metabolic diseases.

Well, it’s complicated.

If you’ve ever wondered why some people will have success with one intervention while others with back pain are still suffering…

The most likely scenario is because there’s likely a mixture of different possible factors at work.

Try Something Different

With back pain being one of the top reasons for visits to physicians, days off work and disability, it seems to make sense we approach back pain from a different and multi-factorial perspective.

The short list includes:

  1. Strength Training, Conditioning and Proper Mobility / Stability
  2. Dietary Improvements
  3. Bio-Structural Testing and Correction (Corrective Chiropractic)
  4. Stress Management 

Which of these have you tried?

What worked for you?



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Dr Brian Lanoue is a Life By Design Chiropractor, blogger and speaker on achieving extraordinary health. It is Brian’s passion and mission to empower you, your family and your community to live extraordinary lives. Brian co-owns The Powerhouse Chiropractic in beautiful Vancouver, BC, Canada with his partner Thea.