Factors That Increase the Risk of Back Pain and Injury
The following factors may increase your risk for back pain.
Factors you cannot control
Being pregnant. A woman's back is significantly stressed by carrying a baby.
Having a family history of back pain
Having a problem with your spine that has been present
since birth (congenital)
Having a degenerative disease of the
spine, such as osteoporosis or arthritis
Factors you can control
Not exercising regularly
for long periods, lifting or pulling heavy objects, bending or twisting
frequently, heavy physical exertion, repetitive motions, and exposure to
constant vibration, such as from driving
Smoking. A smoker is twice
as likely to have low back pain than a nonsmoker.
(weighing more than 20% over your ideal body weight)
Being under a lot of stress
Having a mental
health problem, such as depression or severe anxiety
illness or disease that causes chronic coughing
Slumping or slouching alone may not cause low back pain. But after the back has been strained or injured, bad posture can make pain worse. "Good posture" generally means your ears, shoulders, and hips are in a straight line. If this posture causes pain, you may have another condition such as a problem with a disc or bones in your back.
Activities that increase your risk
Running or jogging
Sledding, snowmobiling, or
Sports that require forceful twisting, such as
gymnastics and wrestling
Contact sports, such as football or
Work-related activities that require repeated lifting,
bending, or twisting of the back
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.