Over half of all people in the U.S. will experience some form of back pain. This is a dull or sharp pain in the any region of the back, especially the lower area, that makes it difficult to function normally. What are the risks for back pain and how can you prevent or reduce them?

Eight out of ten adults will be affected by back pain in their lives.

Here are some of the most common risk factors for back pain:

  • Depression or anxiety: Though a correlation has not been found, doctors and researchers note that individuals with anxiety or depression are reporting higher rates of back pain than other groups.
  • Middle-aged individuals and males: Those over the age of 40 report higher instances of lower back pain than people in other age brackets. It is also important to note that men are more affected by back pain than women, except for women who experience it during pregnancy.
  • Injuries or prior surgery on the spine: It is no surprise that people who have had spinal injuries, compression fractures, or previous surgery on the back have an increased risk for lower back pain. Hereditary issues and back issues since birth are also common.
  • Lifestyle and behavior: A lack of exercise, improper motion when lifting or moving, poor posture, being overweight, and even smoking can all have an influence on your risk of developing back pain.  These can be alleviated or eliminated with specific changes in your lifestyle.
  • Stress: One of the leading causes of back pain for individuals in the United States is stress. Emotional responses to external stimuli result in concentrated pain, including chronic pain, in the lower back. When a person is under stress they tend to unconsciously tighten their muscles in this region of the body.

Do you have concerns about your risk factors for lower back pain? 

Image by Tony Alter via Flickr

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