What lower back pain causes are commonly creating discomfort for people? Well, the answer is quite complex. Some types of pain can result from medical issues, whereas others are as simple as the person not sitting properly for long periods.

But since lower back pain is such a common issue, knowing what triggers it could help prevent or relieve it. This will help you achieve comfort. So, without further ado, let’s see what usually causes lower back pain.

What Are the Main Lower Back Pain Causes?

As mentioned previously, lower back pain can occur for various reasons, some of them including injuries, strains, or sprains of the muscles or other medical issues. For a more detailed overview, though, here’s what lower back pain causes involve:

  • Muscle Strain/Ligament Sprain

When you stretch a muscle too much, you risk causing it to tear. This ends up causing a muscle strain. On the other hand, when you stretch too much and the ligaments are affected as well, it’s called a sprain.

But even though they are different and affect different areas, they pretty much have the same symptoms. A bad posture, lifting heavy objects, and making sudden movements are common causes for strains or sprains. The same goes for sports injuries.

You will have the same symptoms when you have muscle strain/ligament sprain.

  • Spine Curvatures

There are certain conditions that cause the spine to curve abnormally. The most commonly known issues of the sort are lordosis, kyphosis, and scoliosis.

However, you will find out about these conditions early on as they are normally diagnosed during childhood.

  • Lumbar Herniated Disc

The lumbar disc center can start breaking through the layer on the outside, which will end up causing discomfort for the nearest nerve root.

When this happens, an inflammation will occur due to the proteins in the disc’s herniated portion. Consequently, you will deal with nerve root pain that will affect your movements and your lifestyle, in general.

  • Sciatica

When you have a herniated disc, it can end up pressing on your sciatic nerve, which causes a lot of pain as a result. The nerve in question is the one responsible for connecting the legs and the spine. So, the pain will go down your feet and legs, and it will either feel like pins and needles, or a burning sensation. Note that a herniated disc is not the only cause of sciatica pain.

Less Common Causes for Lower Back Pain

Now, you might be asking “what lower back pain causes are not as common?” Well, here are a few, and it’s still important to consider them. In these cases especially, getting yourself checked by a doctor is essential for early diagnosis and treatment.

  • Tumor

A tumor can be a possible cause of lower back pain. However, the tumor doesn’t have to start in the spinal area – it may start in a different part of the body and then extend to the spine. Usually, a tumor will be a result of cancer in the kidney, prostate, breast, lung, or thyroid.

If you are already aware that you have cancer and got a diagnosis, then you should get evaluated by a doctor for potential spinal metastasis.

  • Autoimmune Disease

There is a possibility that an autoimmune disease is causing back pain. It can be a symptom of conditions such as Crohn’s disease, fibromyalgia, ankylosing spondylitis, lupus, and others.

  • Infection

An infection may also be a potential cause of the back pain, and the spinal infection is known as osteomyelitis. It’s pretty rare, so there are small chances of having it, but it’s best to make sure you get checked. If untreated, this infection can even threaten your life.

Osteomyelitis can lead to very bad back pain and it may be caused by spreading through the bloodstream, or by injections or surgical procedures. If you have bad immunity, then you are more likely to develop this infection compared to someone with a healthy immune system.

When Should You See a Doctor?

Seeing a doctor is always recommended, as it’s best to make sure you get an early diagnosis for any issue. As such, you should pay attention to the following signs and visit a doctor immediately if you notice any of these:

  • Your back pain is also accompanied by weight loss that you cannot explain.
  • The pain ends up spreading down one or both of your legs and extends below the knee too.
  • The lower back pain lasts a few weeks.
  • It doesn’t end up improving even after getting rest, and it’s pretty severe.
  • The pain is causing numbness, weakness or tingling in one or both of your legs.
  • Fever is also present together with the back pain.
  • You experience new bladder or bowel movements.
  • Your pain is present after getting a blow to your back, falling or experiencing any other injury.

How Does Lower Back Pain Get Diagnosed?

Normally, your doctor will have to perform a series of actions to determine the cause of your pain and diagnose it properly. First of all, he/she will ask for your medical history to see if something in your past might have caused your current issue. Then, the doctor will perform a physical examination to find out where the pain is causing the problem. Your reflexes and response to sensations may be checked too, as this can determine if your nerves are affected by lower back pain.

Your doctor will keep an eye on your condition for a few weeks before you are sent for tests. Of course, this only happens if you don’t have any debilitating symptoms or neurologic loss.

If the back pain continues even after you’re undergoing home treatment, then more tests may be performed.

Lower Back Pain Diagnosis

Your doctor need to perform series of actions to properly diagnose your pain.

Are There Any Risk Factors for Lower Back Pain?

Although anyone can develop lower back pain for different reasons, there are certainly some factors that affect the likelihood of developing this type of pain. Some of these include:

  • Excess Weight

When you weigh more than normal, the extra weight can end up applying more stress on your back, which causes lower back pain as a result.

  • Age

Being younger decreases the likelihood of developing medical conditions that cause back pain. On the other hand, as you get older, you may start experiencing lower back pain.

  • Lifting Things the Wrong Way

You have to be very careful when lifting something heavy. Improper lifting will most likely generate lower back pain. Having said that, when you lift something, make sure you generate the force in the muscles of your legs, and not your back.

  • Not Exercising

If you don’t exercise frequently or at all, your muscles will end up being quite weak. Because of that, in time, they will end up causing back pain if you make the minimum of effort or have a bad posture.

Back Pain

Infrequent or no exercise at all may cause back pain even when picking up something light.

  • Diseases

When you’re already dealing with a medical condition, it’s more likely to develop lower back pain. For instance, cancer or arthritis are known as conditions that cause back pain.

  • Smoking

Believe it or not, but smoking is also a risk factor for developing lower back pain. Smokers tend to cough a lot, which causes herniated disks. Not to mention that the blood flow to the spine also decreases, while the risk of osteoporosis increases.

  • Psychological Conditions

If you’re more prone to anxiety or depression, then you’re at a higher risk of developing back pain.

Can You Prevent Lower Back Pain?

Now that you know what lower back pain causes are the most common, you might want to find out some preventive measures for this condition. So, if you don’t have back pain but you think you’re more likely to develop it, you have to be careful and try to prevent it from occurring.

Here are some ways to prevent lower back pain:

  • Exercise Frequently

You may enjoy relaxing all day long, but it may cost you later when your muscles are weakened, and pain starts to interfere with your favorite activities. Even low-impact aerobic exercises should help you a lot because they increase endurance in your back. As a result, back pain will be less likely to happen.

  • Maintain a Healthy Weight

Since weighing too much can put a strain on your back muscles, more so if you don’t exercise, it would be ideal to maintain a healthy weight. Try changing your habits and start working towards losing some of the additional weight so that you can prevent back pain.

  • Stop Smoking

If you’re a smoker, you should stop this habit as soon as possible. Since smoking increases the risk of developing the problem, it’s best to stop right away. It might not be easy, but there are various methods that can help you quit smoking.

Lower Back Pain Prevention

Prevent lower back pain by frequent exercising, maintaining a healthy weight, & quitting smoking.

Final Thoughts

It doesn’t matter what lower back pain causes are more common – you should still do your best to prevent them or treat them if they are already an issue. Usually, the sciatic nerve, medical issues, low back sprain or strain or spinal curvature can influence your lower back pain. Make sure to try some preventive measures and get checked by a doctor if the problem is severe and it persists.


Co-founder of MB Zen, digital nomad and yogini. Trying to beat down stress and achieve peace of mind through the daily practice of Yoga. After a while in yoga, I embraced it wholy, and it changed my lifestyle upside down. Now I want to give back , helping others on their journey.