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Risk Factors for Developing Chronic Lower Back Pain

Risk Factors for Developing Chronic Lower Back Pain


Living with chronic lower back pain is never easy and can have huge effects on how chronic pain sufferers carry out their day to day lives. However, identifying the factors and warning signs that can lead to chronic pain can help you take the precautionary measures to prevent and manage back pain in the long term.

Chronic lower back pain is categorised as pain that has been persistent for longer than three months. The type of lower back pain that may be experienced is extremely varied. It may be neural, joint, or muscular in origin. Often the pain is due to the individual developing a movement dysfunction. This is secondary to their pain, causing repetitive overload of certain structures. There are many causes of lower back pain and in most cases, a physiotherapist can help in identifying these altered movement patterns. Physiotherapist can develop a treatment program based the altered movement patterns.

Individuals who experience one or more of the following factors may be at risk:

  • Age – One of the most common causes of chronic lower back pain is as of a result of ageing. It can be associated with spondylosis, which is the general degeneration of the spine due to wear and tear.
  • Genetics – Genetics can play a huge factor in whether you will develop chronic lower back pain. You can inherit certain spinal disorders from family members. If someone in your family has suffered back pain in the past it is common that you may experience pain of a similar nature. This is due to the similarities in body type.
  • Occupation – Your occupation can influence whether you are at risk of developing lower back pain. Occupations that require repetitive bending and lifting such as nurses or construction workers are at a higher risk. However, jobs that require long hours of sitting without the proper back support can also lead to lower back pain. This is due to maintaining a prolonged poor posture.
  • Lack of exercise & being overweight – Individuals who do not participate in regular physical activity can be at a higher risk of lower back pain as their back muscles may be a lot weaker and susceptible to injury. Having excess weight can also put more stress on the structures of the lower back.
  • Poor posture – Over time, poor posture will substantially increase the risk of developing lower back problems later in life. Poor posture can be anything from slouching at your desk, not sitting correctly while driving or lifting heavy objects incorrectly.
  • Pregnancy – Women who are pregnant are also at risk during pregnancy due to carrying excess body weight to the front and the loosening of ligaments in the pelvic area.
  • Injury – Injuries due to sports or traumatic events such as car accidents or falls can extensively damage tendons, ligaments, muscles and bones surrounding the spine leading to chronic lower back pain in the future.

Chronic Lower Back Pain Precautions

There are many precautions an individual can take to ensure that their back is in optimal health. It is advised that you: always stretch after exercising. You should ensure that you are keeping good posture while sitting and standing. Also, keep your weight balanced on your feet, keep active, maintain your BMI at a normal range, and get adequate sleep each night.

Treatment for chronic lower back pain may include education and advice. Your physiotherapy management can retrain correct movement patterns and general exercise. It is important to support from a pain management team as recommended.

If you are suffering from chronic back pain or think you may be at risk of developing chronic lower back pain, contact us here at Ballsbridge Physiotherapy Clinic. Our physiotherapists can assess your movement, posture and strength and develop a treatment plan from there.

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