Back pain is now a common problem many people experience all over the world. There are various causes of back pain. However, the pain can arise due to age, insufficient lower back support among others. Knowing exactly what is causing your backache will assist in seeking the correct remedy. To keep your back free from aches, below are the 30 causes of back pains that people can be able to mitigate. These reasons can cause both upper and lower back pain for male and female. Follow the infographic below to learn the serious causes of life-damaging back pain and get rid of them.

30 Causes of Back Pain (Upper and Lower) (Infographic)

30 Causes of Back Pain Infographic

30 Causes of Back Pain Infographic

30 Causes of Back Pain (Symptom, Diagnosis, Treatment)

Cause#1: Bad Sitting Posture

Bad sitting posture is one of the main contributors to the development of backaches. Bad posture subjects your spine to pressure leading to the development of joints stress. The spine is made of different vertebral bones that give it flexibility. However, when sitting in an upright position, it subjects the lumbar column to extreme pressure that leads to aches.

The main cause of backaches due to poor posture is when the muscles around the spinal column are not balanced. They lead to accumulation of too much weight in one end hence causing inflammation and over time development of severe back pain.

Tips: Changing the sitting orientation can rectify the problem. Getting a more supportive seat will increase support and also avoid sitting for long by taking short breaks. Jogging and other simple exercises can improve the general body health.

Cause#2: Too Little Exercise

Exercising is vital in making sure you have good health. However, having enough exercise is important since it means that all your body parts benefit from workouts. Having insufficient workouts can greatly affect your back health. If the back is already paining, having enough exercises can boost the recovery. Exercising normally leads to movement of vertebral discs, muscles, ligaments, and joints.

With fewer workouts, it means reduced movements. This can deprive the spine essential nutrients leading to the worsened condition. Active training is ideal for reducing inflammation, thus keeping the back free from aches. Consequently, sufficient exercise will minimize the inflammation in the injured discs.

Tips: Having enough and regular is important in enabling the body to have smooth functioning. Having body workouts on a daily basis prevents over-exercising.

Cause#3: Injury From Over-Exercising

Although too little exercising can cause back pains, over-exercising can also lead to severe backaches. Moderate training is essential and sufficient in keeping your body healthy.

However, training hard in the gym can result in the development of pain in the spine probably due to injuries. Mostly, over-exercising leads to extreme pressure on the lower back if you are involved in weightlifting. Sudden and extreme lifting subjects the back muscles and tendons to training pressure that can lead to pain and soreness. Vertebrae are a column of interlocking bones that are stacked and separated by pads for smooth flexibility. When there is extreme pressure, the plates can get injured, herniate or swell leading to excruciating pain.

Tips: Be careful when taking exercise at the gym or other places. Take some suggestions from an expert before doing that. Having the right exercise proportional to your body will help a lot in preventing injuries.

Cause#4: Smoking Too Much

Smoking is a hobby with a quite good number of people. However, the practice is usually related to numerous health issues. Recent studies have linked smoking with the development of chronic backaches. In fact, a person who smokes is likely to suffer from degenerative lumbar spine problems. Tobacco contains a substance known as nicotine. It is this component that that causes obstruction to efficient blood flow to the body.

With reduced blood flow, it restricts nutrients to the rest of the body including the spinal column. Consequently, with fewer nutrients, it means fast spine degeneration. Also, smoking causes other health concerns like increased cholesterol and hypertension; that also increases the chances of joint pains.

Tips: If you are experiencing back pains and you do smoke, the best way to enable recovery is to minimize or quit smoking.

Cause#5: Too Much Stress/Daily Strain

Stress is a physiological aspect that is associated with a lot of health issues. Experiencing stress daily can lead to various effects such as gaining weight, stomach ulcers and many more. When people are experiencing frequent stress, they tend to experience physical and psychological change. It is the physical body change that increases the chances of development of back pain.

Stress causes variation in the sitting positions leading to change in the weight distribution in the body. Besides, when the body is under psychological stress for long, it causes reduced blood flow leading to low nutrients and oxygen reaching different body parts. As a result, there arises muscle spasm. This is not restricted and can cause your back muscles to experience pain and soreness.

Tips: Read some entertainment-related book or watch some comedy movie or TV show to refresh your minds from stress.

Cause#6: Sleeping The Wrong Way/Bad Sleep Position

Sleeping can be a source of back pain. The position in which a person sleeps in greatly affects the back health. Sleeping in some postures can significantly increase chances of the back pains. For instance, stomach sleepers are likely to suffer backaches than side or back sleepers. This is because sleeping on your stomach subject spine flattening state especially if you are sleeping on the wrong mattress.

Also, the position means that your neck is twisted thus leading to pressure point around the shoulders. Having the right support and ideal mattress can lead to a pain-free sleeping posture.

Tips: With many people suffering from a wrong sleeping position, it is advisable to look for an ideal position that won’t subject the body to pressure. Avoid sleeping in stomach position and get right mattress and pillow.

Cause#7: Being Overweight/Obese

Adding a lot of weight comes with many undesirable effects. Apart from coronary and other known problems, it increases chances of back pains. For overweight people, they tend to subject their back muscles to extreme pressure leading to inflammation or nerve compacting. Having a lot of weight around the waist can greatly boost the development of lower back pains due to shifting body weight.

Since the spine is designed to carry body weight, adding more weight compromises the weight distribution. With spine forced to assimilate the excess weight, the condition greatly aggravates the back pain development.

Tips: Avoid all fast/junk/heavy fat foods to keep your weight normal. Check your weight daily. Control your weight.

Cause#8: Ergonomic Causes

Prolonged sitting and especially on poor sitting is among the contributing factors to the development of back pain. Sitting for a long time in the wrong chair dramatically increases the chances of having backaches. Although the effects are slow, they eventually leave your lower back with unbearable pain. Having unbalanced postures can lead to injuring of vertebra discs or inflammation that causes excruciating pain the spine.

The poor economics are as a result of leaning forward for long or slouched postures that shift the body stability. The muscle fatiguing is the main cause of discomforts and pain in the back for people who spend their time sitting or offices.

Tips: Ergonomic causes of back pain can only be resolved by reviewing your office furniture. Having spine contouring chair and right height benches prevent back straining, leading to good posture.

Cause#9: Actual Injuries

Sometimes, people tended to exercise hard exposing their spine to injuries due to extreme pressure and strains. When training especially on lifting exercises, you tend to put a lot of pressure in the spin column. The stacking design of a spine helps it to facilitate movement and absorb impact when walking or working.

But, extreme working or training can lead to the actual disc, ligament or joint injury. Moreover, training in the wrong way leads to injuries in the lower back, neck, and upper back. Therefore, for people with back pains, though exercise can be a way to ease the pain, overdoing can worsen the situation.

Tips: Actual injuries usually arise from accidents and trauma. Mostly, overtraining leads to trauma and bone fracturing. Avoiding extreme exercising like weight lifting will keep spine column safe from injuries.

Cause#10: Irregular Exercise

Having regular exercising routine greatly boosts your body health and fitness. It also helps in tracking the training progress and body reaction. Although exercising is great, sometimes it can be awful if it’s subjecting the body to back pain and aches. In most cases, pain due to training arises when you overdo it or having irregular training.

You find that for people who train regularly, they do it with moderation, but for those who train only a few days in weeks tends to exercise extremely. Due to this, hard training subjects people to risk spine and other body part injuries.

Tips: Irregular exercise worsens your back health. Having a consistent schedule of exercising improves your vertebral column. Also, creating a training plan helps to solve pain related to irregular workouts.

Cause#11: Carrying Kids

Carrying or holding kids although it’s a great moment for parents, it can also lead to the development of back pain. If you spend a lot of time carrying your kid; it can subject your back to strain specifically when the baby is on the front side.

Just like sitting when leaning the front way, carrying babies change body mechanics. With this, the body tends to strain in the back. The weight causes fatiguing as well as increased stress in the back leading to pain and aches.

Carrying baby on the back is less likely to cause pain as opposed to holding the baby on the front part when standing.

Tips: Take rest every alternating 30 minute or 1 hour.

Cause#12: Lifting, Carrying, Pushing or Pulling Heavy Objects

Pushing or pulling heavy load greatly improves the injury risks to your back. Whether lifting, carrying, pushing or pulling, the process is risky and maximum care should be practiced.

These types of handling are associated with damaging of muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints. As a result, a person can develop neck, shoulder lower and general back pain.

Moreover, when manually handling heavy loads, turning, twisting and bending can greatly increase the chance of back and other body injuries.

Tips: Avoid lifting object while twisting or turning. Furthermore, keep the load as close as possible to the body.

Cause#13: Twisting/Twisting Awkwardly

Some assumed issues can lead to the development of body pains though many people aren’t aware. The spine is among body parts that can experience extreme pains due to awkward motions.

The vertebral column is made up of stacked bones, tendons, ligaments and muscles that work together to keep the body properly anchored. When you subject your back to instant and twisting motions, the spine tends to become strained.

It is this twisting motion that causes lumbar straining, disc herniation and also cartilage breakdown. The resulting affect severe pain in the back that leads to discomforts.

Tips: Keeping body in correct posture and avoiding instant back twisting helps to keep the vertebral column safe.

Cause#14: Lack of Sleep

This is a big issue among many people whether a lack of sleep can cause backaches. Lack of sleep alone can’t cause your back to experience aches. However, the effects of insomnia can lead to the development of pain in your spine.

When you get enough sleep, it means you have physical and psychological relaxation. When a person is suffering from sleep deprivation, chances are that the persons will spend most of the time turning around in the bend. This will result in spine twisting and can lead to rising of strained back hence pain, soreness, and aches.

Tips: Lack of sleep can arise from different aspects. Since it is related to back pains, having a sufficient sleep greatly reduces backaches. Reducing stress and having enough exercise can boost your sleep.

Cause#15: Sleep On Bad Mattresses

Bad mattresses are the major cause of back pain among man sleepers. You find that many people usually get the wrong type of bed which then subjects their bodies to extreme pressure. A firm mattress will lead to pain and aches in the back since it doesn’t allow the back to have contoured support.

Rather, it subjects the spine to flattening. On the other hand, the soft mattress will have a high degree of Sinkage that subject’s spine to extreme bending. This leads to increased fatigue and strains that aggravate pain. Depending on the mattress firmness, it will increase or reduces pain and discomforts.

Tips: Having right mattress always helps you kiss goodbye to back pain. Whether you are heavy, medium or lightweight, it’s ideal to look for a mattress that supports body weight. Too firm or too soft bed always leads to poor spine alignment hence backaches.

Cause#16: Carry Heavy One-Sided Bag

The human spine is dedicated to ensuring that your body weight is evenly distributed without straining. When there is an alteration of body stability, the body will compensate by exerting more weight on the spine.

Now, when struggling to maintain the balance, spine and back muscles strains a lot hence leading to discomfort. For people with a tendency of carrying one-sided bags, in the long run, they end up suffering pain, especially on the lower back.

The balanced bag will always keep your spine aligned properly hence redacting any chance of back pains development.

Tips: A one-sided heavy bag shifts the body stability leading to strained posture. Carrying a balanced load always keeps incorrect body stability hence eliminating spine strains and pressure points.

Cause#17: High Heels

High heels are stylish and many women love wearing them. But, wearing these shoes frequently, only predispose you to health issues. The long heels are not only unsafe to your legs but, also dangerous for your back. When a woman is wearing, for instance, 4-inch heels, she will alter the normal body balancing.

The body will respond by compensating the altered balance by bending. With increased pressure on the heels, knees, and spine, it leads to slow damage that eventually leads to pain in the lower body. Over a period of time wearing the heel, it leads to muscle fatigue, pain, muscle calf, and bulges.

Tips: Long heels are dangerous not only for legs but also to the whole spinal column. Wearing heels in moderation will keep your body frees from backaches. In fact, wearing heels for a few minutes won’t cause damage like having them the whole day.

Cause#18: Doing Hard Work

Pushing your body hard will not do it right. Overworking especially heavy lifting is harmful and will only leave you experiencing back related complications. Hard work will alter the body posture leading to your spine suffering from increased strain and pressure. On the other hand, heavy lifting is among the extreme works that can compromise the body healthy. Therefore, always when working, it is ideal to keeps the body out of extreme work that can subject your back to fatigue, strains, and also unnecessary twisting. Although in many occupations such a construction entails heavy lifting, limiting your body helps to avoid backaches.

Tips: Overworking fatigues and strains muscle including the back. Planning for your work enables your body to work healthily without subjecting spine to pressure and aches.

Cause#19: Sudden Movement

In most of the cases, back pains are caused by injuries arising from injuries, traumas, accidents among others. Apart from the known causes, back pains can arise as a result of sudden movement. The sudden movement can cause either upper, middle or lower back pain.

Furthermore, the most common type of pain is as a result of disc herniation, muscle/ligament strain and nerve damage among others. Depending on the cause of the back pain, manifestation differs from short duration to several days. With adherence to simple rules, it can significantly reduce the chances of back pain associated with sudden movements.

Tips: Sudden movement causes unexpected spine movement that destabilizes the whole system. Adhering to basic rules like safe lifting, maintaining a firm standing base and regular exercises helps in strengthening back.

Cause#20: Prolonged Use of Computer or Watch TV

Sitting down for a long time is not healthy at all. Whether working in an office or you love watching TV for a long time, it can be the reason you are suffering from complications in your back. The sitting posture when working on your computer is a significant determinant in ensuring that you have a safe and comfortable position without subjecting your body to development of back pain.

In most scenarios, people working with computers tend to have forward leaning position. This creates a pressure point especially on the lower back as bot tries to stabilize and balances itself. In the process, their muscles experience fatigue and strains leading to pain in the spine. Moreover, the same case applies to sit for a long time when watching television.

Tips: Having a perfect posture can prevent the development of neck and back pains. Good chairs and working benches help the body to achieve a balanced posture.

Cause#21: Bending Awkwardly

Bending awkwardly is one of the bad postures that cause many people to have excruciating back pain. Bending forward for a long time subjects your back to a lot of pressure thus subjecting the body to pain.

Frequently, people who are overweight pregnant can experience back pain when leaning forward due to extreme pressure on the vertebral column.

The key point here is the pressure exerted on the back. It is the weight that causes the body to experience a painful feeling in the back.

Furthermore, bending awkwardly can result in the fracture or other bone infections can lead paining back.

Tips: Avoiding bending for a long time and mildly stretching your body helps in relieving back muscle fatigue and strains.

Cause#22: Slouching In Chairs

Slouching is a common practice that people engage in when they are in offices or at home. But, the habit according to health experts isn’t ideal if you want to keep your back free from pain development. If you are already experiencing back related complications, sitting while relaxed can significantly worsen your condition. In fact, the slouching habit leads to accumulation of pressure on the lower back where the lumbar bones connect to the pelvis. This leads to straining of the iliolumbar ligament which in turn acts as a source of pain. Furthermore, without proper shoulder support and having lumbar support significantly reduces the chances of lower backs pain.

Tips: The first thing to eliminate back pain is to stop slouching. Also, correcting the sitting postures to prevent slouching eliminates chances of lower back pain.

Cause#23: Overstretching

Overstretching is one of the practices that people experience when training or just sitting in the office that can ruin their backs. Stretching moderately allows your body to relax.

However, when you overdo it can be the beginning of your back problems. It can lead to a lumbar sprain or muscle strains. When the muscle or vertebrae column experiences sudden overstretching, they usually get inflamed which results to various degrees of pain depending on the level of injury.

In general, overstretching causes damage to the soft tissue that supports the spine leading to backaches.

Tips: Avoid stretching too much and twisting when moving or seated.

Cause#24: Driving or Sitting In A Hunched Position

For people who spend most of the time riving like long-distance drivers, sitting in hunched position could be killing your back slowly. The same applies to other occupations that see people working while sitting for a long time in a hunched posture.

Whether sitting in a hunched position when driving or on your computer, it is likely to cause disturbing back discomforts and pains.

In fact, such a position is associated with numerous conditions like whiplash, osteoporosis, muscle strains and other major body conditions.

Tips: Improving body postures when driving or sitting for a long period greatly boost back health. To counter the hunched position, exercising, back stretchers, and statics stretchers are a great choice.

Cause#25: Overusing The Muscles During Sport or Repetitive Movements

People think that to actively train, they have to overuse their muscles. However, this is not the case as regular training is enough to keep the body fit.

People who train irregularly rave most to subject their muscles to overworking. With the notion of recovering the lost time, they only subject their bodies to the risk of getting severe body pain. In fact, when overworking, every body part including the back muscles tends to provide support to keep body stable.

In the process, most of the weight is transferred to the spine which can cause bones to misalign. Moreover, the excessive weight can lead to disc, tendons and soft tissues damage. The resulting inflammation cause body to experience back discomforts and aches.

Tips: Prevent overuse of muscles, excessive warming up before training, use proper equipment and correct exercising techniques.

Cause#26: Deficiency of Calcium

The key bone component is the calcium. Therefore, when the body is experiencing calcium deficiency, it has a great impact on your bones. Generally, deficiency in calcium renders bone brittle and easy to fracture.

In connection, to this, the body needs to maintain a steady supply of calcium through nutrition. When there is less supply, the body will get the mineral from bones. This will lead to degradation in bone mass hence significantly weakening your bones.

When bones, are weak, it can have a great effect when you subject your body to hard work as it causes vertebra column to fracture causing severe back pain, especially in the lower region.

Tips: Take healthy food that contains calcium. Contact your doctor for suggestions.

Cause#27: Spondylolisthesis

Spondylolisthesis is displacement of a vertebral bone over the one below it. The spine is supposed to be perfectly lined to enable smooth movement without causing aches or pain. However, the displacements of a vertebra bone can be as a result of accident/trauma, congenital, joint overuse and medical conditions such as arthritis. When the Spondylolisthesis occurs, it can lead to squeezing of nerve or root leading to severe pain or numbness. Although it causes great back pain, it can also affect other body functions and is a serious condition that needs doctor intervention.

Tips: Spondylolisthesis is a medical condition. Therefore, a medical expert is mandatory. Furthermore, physiotherapy is ideal as well as weight loss to overweight people.

Cause#28: Sciatica

Sciatica is a condition that involves pain originating from the lower back to the legs. It is a common experience among many people and causes one to feel pain weakness and numbness in the legs.

When suffering from this condition, it is either you are suffering from spinal disc herniation, spinal stenosis or Piriformis syndrome. This condition can bring severe pain leading to extreme discomforts and also difficulties in sitting and walking.

A large number of people suffering from sciatica is as a result of spinal disc herniation resulting either from poor posture or subjecting spine to extreme posture.

Tips: Sciatica also can cause great discomfort and must contact the doctor asap. Physical exercises, massage, and chiropractic techniques are helpful.

Cause#29: Gastric

Gastric is closely related to back pains although many people aren’t aware of this. When you are experiencing bloating, the gas filling stomach makes it feel hard. With bloated stomach, it affects even your sitting position.

Moreover, it transfers the discomfort to the back side leading to compromised spine alignment.

Although bloating doesn’t cause serious pain directly to the stomach, it can bring discomfort ranging from stabbing effects to dull back aching.

Tips: Maintaining the stomach bloat-free helps in keeping your spine column safe from pain. Drinking a lot of water, visceral massage and natural colon cleansing enable your system to function properly.

Cause#30: Age

Age is also a considerable factor that is associated with the development of back pain. Although nowadays back pain is common even in young people; it is more prevalent to older members of society due to a variety of conditions.

However, the most common causes of back pains in the elderly are spinal stenosis and osteoarthritis. This is because older people tend to experience weak bones due to osteoporosis.

On the other hand, over the time breakdown of cartilages between the facts leads to the development of osteoarthritis.

Tips: There is no way you can prevent aging. But it’s possible to keep away problems associated with age. Especially back pain, regular exercises, proper nutrition and avoiding smoking can keep your back healthy for long.


Back pain arises as a result of a variety of causes. From simple ones to much complex, the pain can significantly ruin your day. With these 30 causes of back pains, it is now possible to prevent the development of these backaches.

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