Causes of Back Pain Back pain is difficult to diagnose and treat. There are a variety of causes of back pain, and a wide range of possible back pain treatments that may or may not work for the same condition. Before you start taking painkillers or agree to surgery, it’s important to determine what is causing your pain so you can assess the proper treatment. If you find that your back pain persists after a couple of weeks, don’t hesitate to call your doctor so he can help with a treatment plan. COMMON CAUSES OF BACK PAIN Poor Posture: Whether sitting, walking, or running, slouching and slumping strains the delicate bones and muscles in your back and can lead to permanent, recurring pain. Age and Genetics: Unfortunately, time takes its toll on the body. Adults in their 30s, 40s and 50s are at a higher risk than younger adults for back pain because of changes occurring in the body (including loss of bone strength and muscle tone). Disc-related pain is also common for this age group. Seniors are more likely to experience back pain due to osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis and other degenerative disorders. Office and Home Ergonomics: Bad chairs, improper monitor height and soft couches can contribute to back pain in the office and at home. Office: The wrong chair, improper desk setup (including poor monitor height) and lack of breaks can put us all at risk for a number of health-related issues—from strained eyes, headaches and benefits to carpal tunnel syndrome, stress, musculoskeletal problems and more. Home: Like office setup, soft couches, bad mattresses and chairs can all lead to back pain in the home. The amount of time we spend bending down to look at our devices—phones, tablets or the TV—can also contribute to neck, shoulder and back pain. Lack of Exercise: Lack of exercise and stretching and a weak core can add to pain and stiffness in the back. Lack of exercise can also be tied to excess weight which can significantly impact back pain (see below). Excess Weight: The heavier you are, the harder your body works to keep itself balanced. Even a few extra pounds can make your hips tilt forward and misalign your spine, causing strain on your lower back. Clothing and Bags: Too tight of clothing, high heels and heavy bags can all cause back pain for one reason or another. Here’s a few things to be aware of when you get dressed in the morning: High Heels: High heels push the body’s center of mass forward, taking the hips and spine out of alignment and placing additional strain on the back, knees, ankles and feet. Unsupportive Bra: Ill-fitting bras can affect the curve of the spine and lead to upper back problems. Research shows that most women wear the wrong size bra, leading to extensive hunching and straining as compensation for discomfort. Heavy Bags: Lugging a heavy backpack, bag or purse around by one strap can cause the disproportionate shift of weight to one side, leading to neck and muscle spasms, as well as low-back pain. Sitting on Your Wallet: Sitting on your wallet can cause your pelvis to twist, leading to misalignment of the spine and potential sciatic issues. Worn out Shoes: Stilettos are hard on your back and flip flops don’t provide correct support but even “good” shoes that have worn out soles could change your posture and the way you walk, causing back pain.