What Triggers Low Back Pain?



A study published this month in Arthritis Care and Research by Daniel Steffens et al. from the University of Sydney has looked at the risk factors that could lead to acute low back pain. Acute low back pain is back pain that comes on suddenly and resolves after a few days or weeks as opposed to chronic low back pain which is long-standing.

They surveyed close to 1000 people and asked them about the presence of 12 physical and psychosocial factors up to 4 days before the onset of back pain. The results revealed that a number of triggers were linked to acute low back pain:

  • moderate to vigorous physical activity increased the risk by 3
  • manual tasks involving awkward postures increased the risk by 8
  • being distracted during an activity increased the risk by 25
  • age decreased the effect of exposure to heavy loads
  • risk was highest between 7 am and mid-day

Over the years, I’ve noticed that the┬áparents of young children have an increased incidence of low back pain. Having seen some of the risk factors high-lighted in this study, it becomes evident how sleep-deprived, fatigued and distracted parents that often lift their children in awkward positions can dramatically increase the risk of low back pain. It’s also interesting to note┬áthat distraction seems to massively increase the risk of low back pain and therefore underlines the importance of mindfulness.

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