Back Strain 101: The Common Causes of Back Pain You Need to Know About

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Published
Sep 13, 2019

Sep 13, 2019 • by Rebecca Smith

Do you suffer from back pain?

If so, you're not alone. Most people suffer from an achy back at some point in their life. Many suffer chronically.

Whether you hurt from a back strain or another type of injury, finding the root can help you prevent further discomfort. Let's look at common causes!

Common Causes of Back Strain and Pain

Sometimes back pain creeps up out of seemingly nowhere. This occurs because injured tissues sometimes do not swell until days later.

For many injuries, this is when the pain begins, making it difficult to pinpoint the culprit. Awareness of your health is important. Here are some of the most common causes of back pain!

Car Accidents

If you get in a serious motor vehicle accident, then you will most likely know where to attribute your pain. However, pain days after a fender bender or an accidental ride over the curb may leave you scratching your head.

Your car weighs thousands of pounds more than you, and a curb whack can mess up its alignment. You may feel like Superman at times, but your body cannot possibly outperform steel. Even small, sudden jerks of the body can lead to injury of the spine and muscles in the back.

Experts suggest getting checked out following any motor vehicle accident, even if you feel fine. Waiting for the pain to creep up can create further damage. 

Lifting Wrong

You don't need to frequent the gym to hurt yourself lifting. In fact, people who frequent the gym tend to know a little more about lifting properly. Plus, developing a strong core muscle group helps prevent such injury.

The average person mindlessly lifts heavyweights on a regular basis. Without a second thought, you may lift:

  • Little ones
  • Packages
  • Furniture
  • A vacuum
  • Pets
  • Grocery bags

The list goes on. Lifting anything improperly can cause a back sprain or disrupt the alignment of your spine.

Proper lifting techniques can save you a world of hurt from lower and mid back pain. To lift properly:

  • Firmly place your feet shoulder-width apart
  • Hold the item as close to your body as possible
  • Bend at the hips and knees to squat, avoiding an arched spine
  • Lift by slowly straightening your legs, using only your leg muscles for force
  • Once your legs are straight, let your hip muscles take over

You should never feel a pull at your spine, upper back, or neck while lifting. If you do, readjust. Also, when setting down objects, keep this positioning and use the same muscle groups to avoid injury.

Poor Posture 

Poor posture not only looks bad. It can actually cause mid back pain.

Some people hold proper posture while standing, walking, or sitting at the dinner table, but then let it go during less formal situations. Unfortunately, we tend to spend more of our time at computer desks and driving, putting us at risk for back pain.

Over time, poor posture can lead to loss of function and even deformity of the spine later on. You can avoid this by staying aware of your body.

Throughout the day, conduct posture checks on yourself. Make it a point to stand and sit straighter, press your shoulder blades back, and stretch your neck high. Making good posture a habit will significantly improve your comfort level.

Weight

Obesity is not purely an aesthetic problem. It causes serious, long term health issues for the individual.

Back strain is one such problem. This excess weight on the body equates to constantly carrying and lifting something heavy all day long.

It exhausts the muscles and can lead to strain of the ligaments. Belly fat causes the pelvis to jut forward, straining the lower back.

Maintaining a healthy weight will help you keep back pain away. If you already suffer from weight problems, eat a balanced diet containing mostly fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean sources of protein. Exercise regularly, even if it means just walking an hour each day

You will not simply appease societal beauty standards. You will actually feel better and save your back from injury.

Weak Core Muscles

The core muscle group includes muscles of the back, chest, and abdomen. A weak core can lead to back pain as the muscles cannot support your normal weight and activity. Some people also experience back pain when one of these groups is significantly stronger than the others.

Exercises that strengthen your core muscles include:

  • Push-ups
  • Planks
  • Side planks
  • Backbends
  • Crunches
  • Leg lifts

None of these exercises require special equipment or a trip to the gym. Create a doable routine that keeps you working your entire core on a regular basis.

Stress

Believe it or not, ailments of your mind can actually injure your back. Stress can manifest physically as chronic back pain.

Stress can cause people to become inactive. A sedentary lifestyle will cause those core muscles to weaken and gravity to compact the spine.

Your breathing patterns also change during periods of extreme stress. This causes tension and strain on your middle back.

Alleviate stress by talking through it and exercising more. Make sure you get enough sleep, as exhaustion can enhance it. 

Pamper yourself. Meditate, go to yoga, take a hike, and use a 3D massage chair!

Pregnancy

Growing humans put a lot of strain on your body. They may seem so tiny, but it only takes a small amount of pressure to aggravate the nerves. Hormones also play a role by changing your ligaments to allow for stretch.

Practicing proper posture will help you significantly during this time! Also, try sleeping on your side during the later months to avoid putting all of the baby weight directly onto your spine.

Little stretches can help as well. Check out some pregnancy yoga videos to learn how to shift the weight and stretch the muscles for more comfort!

Stand Tall

Back pain can be debilitating. Preventing back strain will help you stand tall and face your daily challenges with strength!

At STFM, we want you to walk through life in the know about your health! Check out our publications and research online.