The 5 Most Common Causes of Back Pain

Back pain is a ubiquitous issue that affects people of all ages and lifestyles. Whether you’re a desk-bound professional, an athlete, or a stay-at-home parent, chances are you’ve experienced some form of back discomfort. As a chiropractor, I frequently encounter patients seeking relief from their back pain, and I can tell you one thing – these 5 causes are responsible for more back pain than anything else!  


Poor Posture

In today’s digital age, many of us spend long hours hunched over computers, staring at smartphones, or reclining on the couch – unfortunately, poor posture is a major contributor to back pain. Aside from causing stress to the muscles and ligaments (which can be painful all on its own!), over time, poor posture can lead to an incorrect alignment of the spine – this then places undue stress on the muscles, ligaments, and joints, leading to more discomfort and pain.

Chiropractors emphasise the importance of maintaining proper spinal alignment, through adjustments, we can help correct misalignments and promote better posture – but more often than not the best way to reduce pain associated with poor posture is to work to fix that posture!


Muscle Strain and Overuse

Engaging in repetitive movements or lifting heavy objects without paying mind to proper body mechanics can result in muscle strain. Overworked muscles may become tight and painful, leading to discomfort in the back. Additionally, sudden, strenuous activities without adequate warm-up can cause muscle injuries. Here’s looking at you builders and athletes!

Chiropractors can employ various techniques such as soft tissue manipulation and therapeutic exercises to alleviate muscle tension and enhance flexibility. Regular adjustments can also help promote overall spinal health, reducing the risk of strain-related back pain, however, injuries take time to heal even with proactive treatment. The best course of action here is to learn and use proper lifting and warm-up techniques which respect the way your body works.


Herniated Discs

The discs between the vertebrae act as shock absorbers for the spine. When a disc’s outer layer weakens or tears, the inner gel-like material may protrude – this is called a herniated disc. This condition can put pressure on nearby nerves, resulting in back pain and, in some cases, radiating pain down the legs. Herniated discs can be incredibly painful, and many people worry that chiropractic adjustment might be too painful for them. In reality, chiropractors can utilise very minor and gentle spinal adjustments to alleviate pressure on affected discs – this takes time, but eventually, by restoring proper alignment and mobility, chiropractic care may help reduce pain associated with herniated discs.



Osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint condition, commonly affects the spine. As the protective cartilage between the vertebrae wears down over time, bone-on-bone contact can occur, leading to pain, stiffness, and inflammation. Since arthritis is a degenerative condition which occurs with age, it cannot be cured. That being said, chiropractic care can provide relief by improving joint mobility and reducing inflammation. While you cannot turn back the clock, you can make the most of your spine as it is.


Stress and Emotional Factors

Believe it or not, emotional stress can often manifest physically – there’s no question that this can also contribute to back pain. Chronic stress may lead to muscle tension and increased sensitivity to pain which has a tendency to exacerbate any back pain issues – in turn, more pain can lead to more stress, and so the cycle continues! While we need to be clear that Chiropractic is not in any way a treatment for mental health issues, it can be a great tool to reduce pain and relax the body – if chronic stress is a major issue for you, this can buy you enough space to start to work on some of those underlying issues.


We’re here to help!

Understanding the common causes of back pain is the first step towards finding effective solutions – if you’re suffering from back pain, does one of these 5 causes sound right to you? At Complete Chiropractic we love to see people from all sorts of backgrounds and we’re happy to help in whichever way works for you. Looking for a long-term plan to reduce and avoid back pain when working in a manual job? We can help with that. Need a quick adjustment to overcome a short-term painful complaint? Happy to help!

While Chiropractic isn’t a magic bullet, there are many underlying back pain issues which we can help with – and if we can’t, we can usually point you in the direction of someone who can.


Blog by / February 19, 2024 / Blog

Dr. Paul Irvine is a doctor of chiropractic who graduated in 1994 with a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of NSW and in 1996, attained his Master of Chiropractic degree from Macquarie University in Australia. He practised in North Sydney for 5 years before he left Australia to travel and practise in the UK. He joined Complete Chiropractic in 2003 (est 1999) and took over the clinic in 2007