5 Common Triggers of Back Pain

Category: Back Pain | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: March 21, 2019

Old woman with back pain

Back pain can be brought on by a myriad of activities and actions, but some triggers are more common than others. What triggers one person may not cause a flare-up in another, but there are some back pain triggers that are more common than others. Today, we take a closer look at five common back pain triggers, why they tend to increase your risk of back pain, and how you can prevent and treat them.

Back Pain Triggers

These are some of the most common actions that can trigger an onset of new back pain or a recurrence of an older issue.

  1. Lifting/Carrying Heavy Objects – In a recent study that examined the most common triggers of back pain, lifting and carrying heavy loads was the most common trigger. Lifting and carrying puts an immense amount of stress on a number of different areas of your back, and if your muscles aren’t ready for that kind of stress, or they simply become overloaded, back pain can set in. You can prevent this trigger by using safe lifting techniques, having someone help lift heavy objects and by using back braces or other safety equipment.
  2. Smoking – Tobacco products reduce healthy blood flow throughout your body, including to your vertebrae and spinal discs. This can lead to structure breakdown, inflammation, and pain. A different study found that tobacco use also makes a person more likely to feel other back pain triggers, so not only can it cause pain in and of itself, but it can leave you more susceptible to other types of triggers. Kick the habit to prevent this trigger.
  3. An Injury To Another Body Part – Back pain onset can also be triggered by an acute injury in another area of your body. Since a number of nerves pass through your spinal column en route to the brain, pain in another area can lead to radiating discomfort in your back. Hip or pelvis injuries commonly lead to secondary pain in your spine. While it’s not always easy to prevent other acute injuries, recognizing that your back pain could be a symptom of an injury to another part of the body is a key step in helping treat the underlying cause of pain.
  4. Depression – A study published in PAIN found a significant link between depression and the onset of lower back pain. Patients with depression or anxiety were 1.6 times more likely to have certain spinal problems. The reason being is that stress can contribute to added muscle tension in our spinal muscles, which over time can lead to weakness and pain. Mindfulness-based therapies have been shown to be successful at combating both anxiety and stress-related back pain.
  5. Accessory Imbalance – One final back pain trigger is what we call accessory imbalance. It’s when things that you wear or carry cause a stress imbalance on one area of your body, causing it to become overworked, fatigued and eventually painful. For example, wearing a heavy purse over one shoulder, carrying bags in one arm instead of evenly distributing the weight, or wearing restrictive clothes like Spanx that put excessive pressure on your hips can all lead to an onset of back pain. Try to even out the weight distribution of the things you’re carrying, and avoid restrictive clothing when possible.

For more back pain triggers and treatments, or to talk to a doctor about your discomfort, reach out to Dr. Sinicropi’s office today.

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