Why do I have pain in my back?
Like a common cold?
Back pain is extremely common, affecting around 85% of people. Researchers and clinicians now suggest that we should really put back pain into the same category as the common cold – it causes a bit of a nuisance for a few days and then gets better. You should normally carry on with all your usual activities when you have back pain. For the majority of back pain we don’t know exactly what causes it but it usually gets better within 2 weeks.
A very small proportion of back pain is from serious causes – less than 1%. If you are concerned, seek advice.
Some causes of back pain:
You may have pain because you strained your back perhaps overloading it with something too heavy. Maybe you did an activity that you are not used to. Interestingly we cannot predict people who are likely to have back pain from looking at posture. Posture and back pain are very poorly linked. Two of the key predictors for when you will be more vulnerable to pain are when you are tired and/or stressed.
Other factors which may be linked to increased risk of back pain are being unhappy in your work, having other conditions, fears and beliefs relating to pain, poor diet and low levels of exercise. You may have one or several of these.
Improving some of these elements and reducing the sensitivity of the back will often help to improve back pain.