Top 5 Causes of Back Pain (And How to Prevent Them!)

Back pain is a common issue which many people struggle with for a lifetime – sadly, many people simply seem to accept this as part of life, this, however isn’t true! You certainly can work to reduce and manage back pain – and this journey starts with knowing what the source of the pain is. This week were talking back pain and the main causes…


Muscle Strain

One of the most common causes of back pain is muscle strain. This occurs when the muscles in your back are stretched or torn due to overexertion, improper lifting techniques, or sudden movements. Poor posture and sitting for extended periods can also contribute to muscle strain – sound familiar?!


Prevention and Management

To prevent muscle strain, it’s essential to maintain good posture throughout your daily activities. When lifting heavy objects, always use your legs, not your back, to bear the load, and avoid twisting your body while lifting. Regular exercise that focuses on strengthening the core muscles, such as yoga or Pilates, can provide stability to the spine and reduce the risk of strain. If you do experience muscle strain, rest, ice, and over-the-counter pain relievers can offer relief, whereas in the long term an approach like chiropractic can help to reduce back pain and develop strategies for preventing it from reoccurring.


Herniated Disc

A herniated disc, also known as a slipped or ruptured disc, is another common cause of back pain. It occurs when the soft inner core of a spinal disc pushes through a crack in the tough outer layer, irritating nearby nerves. This can result in localized or radiating pain, often described as shooting or stabbing sensations.


Prevention and Management

Preventing herniated discs involves maintaining a healthy lifestyle. This includes maintaining a balanced diet to prevent excess weight gain, engaging in regular exercise to strengthen the back and core muscles, and practicing good posture. If you suspect a herniated disc, consult a healthcare provider promptly. Treatment options may include medications to alleviate inflammation, physical therapy to improve mobility, and in severe cases, surgical procedures like a discectomy or spinal fusion to repair or replace the damaged disc. Chiropractic cannot undo the damage done to a disc, but it can help to relive the tension and slow further damage – many people find this is enough relief to allow them to live a normal life again.



Arthritis is a chronic condition that can affect the joints throughout the body, including those in the spine. Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the two most common forms of arthritis that can contribute to back pain. These conditions cause the cartilage in the joints to break down, leading to pain, inflammation, and stiffness.


Prevention and Management

While arthritis itself cannot always be prevented, its impact on back pain can be mitigated. Maintaining a healthy weight reduces the load on your spine, minimizing the strain on joints. Regular exercise tailored to your condition can strengthen muscles and improve flexibility. Additionally, a balanced diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods like fruits, vegetables, and omega-3 fatty acids can help manage arthritis symptoms. Medications prescribed by a healthcare provider can also help alleviate pain and inflammation. In some severe cases, surgery may be recommended to repair or replace damaged joints but often maintaining a full range of healthy motion can be enough to slow deterioration of the condition and allow it to be managed. Chiropractic or physiotherapy based approaches are both ideal for this.


Poor Posture and Sedentary Lifestyle

Modern lifestyles often involve prolonged periods of sitting, whether at a desk, in front of a computer, or on the couch watching TV. Poor posture and a sedentary lifestyle can lead to back pain by placing excessive stress on the spine and supporting muscles.


Prevention and Management

To address poor posture and a sedentary lifestyle, it’s crucial to be mindful of your body positioning. Maintain good posture while sitting and standing, using ergonomic chairs and workstations if necessary. Incorporate regular breaks and stretches into your day to prevent stiffness and discomfort. Engage in regular physical activity, such as walking, swimming, or yoga, to strengthen back muscles and promote overall spine health. Staying active is not only crucial for preventing back pain but also for maintaining overall health.


Stress and Emotional Factors

Believe it or not, stress and emotional factors can also play a significant role in back pain. When you’re stressed, your body’s natural response is to tense up, and this tension can manifest in your back muscles, leading to pain and discomfort. Additionally, chronic stress can contribute to inflammation in the body, exacerbating existing back problems.


Prevention and Management

To address stress-related back pain, it’s important to incorporate stress management techniques into your daily routine. Consider practices like relaxation exercises, mindfulness meditation, deep breathing, or even seeking support from a therapist or counselor. Reducing stress not only helps alleviate back pain but also promotes overall mental and physical well-being.


Need help with back pain?

Back pain is a widespread issue that can be caused by a variety of factors, including muscle strain, herniated discs, arthritis, poor posture, sedentary lifestyles, and stress. While some causes are more preventable than others, it’s essential to take proactive steps to maintain a healthy back and seek professional medical advice if you experience persistent or severe pain.

While we wouldn’t claim that chiropractic is able to fix all of these problems (indeed, some of them are degenerative and can’t be “cured”) it can help people with any kind of back pain to reduce the pain and manage issues more effectively. There’s a reason chiropractic care is almost synonymous with back pain after all!

If you’re struggling with back pain, struggle no more! Why not book a consultation today and find out if chiropractic care an help you, for just £55 – we’ll even give you your first treatment totally free to see if what we do can work for you!


Blog by / August 29, 2023 / 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