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What causes back pain?

October 17, 2021 2 min read

What causes back pain?

In Australia, back pain is the most common musculoskeletal condition that people will consult a doctor for. Although injuries are more common in the cervical and thoracic areas of the spine, statistics tell us that low back pain (generally the lumbar region) affects approximately 16% of the Australian population and it is estimated that 70–90% of people will suffer some form of low back pain during their lives.

Spine problems might be as a result from:

  • Irritation of the large nerve roots that go to the legs and arms
  • Pinching of the smaller nerves that extend out from the vertebrae
  • Straining of the large back muscles
  • Injury to the actual bones or ligaments in or around the spine


What are the common types of back pain?

Sport is a common cause of back pain and some sports, such as weight lifting, football, rowing and golf are more likely to cause back pain, but problems with the spine can occur over time from everyday activities such as long periods sitting at a desk, poor sleep positioning, incorrect lifting or repetitive motion. Accidents, falls, and lifting and twisting are often the cause of sudden spine injuries.

Common spine conditions fall into two categories:

  • Wear and tear conditions
  • Acute injuries

How to prevent back pain

  • Strengthening abdominal muscles with exercise to improve posture so the core can support the back.
  • Ensuring your sleeping position is supportive for the natural spinal position and invest in good quality mattress and pillows if back pain is a concern.
  • If back pain occurs due to a direct injury, use cold therapy for the first 48 hours to reduce swelling, decrease inflammation, and soothe the discomfort, then move to heat once swelling has subsided.
  • If you have subacute or chronic back pain (more than a 4-week duration), apply heat therapy with medium heat.
  • Ensure correct ergonomic sitting posture when at a table or desk to support your back, using comfortable compression may help to maintain posture while sitting. And remember to take stretch breaks every hour to reduce the load on your back.
  • Wear supportive and well-fitting shoes as often as possible to provide a supportive base that helps the spine and body remain in alignment.

Our BodyICE Recovery Back and Hip pack can be used for ice or heat therapy to ease back pain and to provide comfortable compression and maintain correct posture.

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