5 Surprising Causes of Lower Back Pain

Updated on September 18, 2021

About 65 million Americans report recent episodes of back pain. Of these, 16 million adults experience chronic back pain. If your back is lasting, it could impact your quality of life.

You might find it’s difficult to work, play with your kids, or get through daily activities.

Back pain is the sixth most costly condition in the US. Do you know what caused your lower back pain? Failing to determine the root cause might cause your pain to persist over the years.

Here are five potential reasons for your pain. By learning what causes lower back pain, you can finally get the help you need. Read on to learn more!


Not many people realize that living a stressful lifestyle can contribute to chronic pain. It often becomes a vicious lifestyle. When you’re in pain, you begin to worry about it.

Worry can become stress, which will cause your back muscles to tense up. As your tension persists, it can make your back pain worse. Then, you’ll start worrying even more.

There are psychological therapies that can help reduce your stress and pain. Some therapies involve changing how you perceive the pain you’re in. You can also learn how to alleviate psychological factors like anxiety and anticipation.

In fact, mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) might help reduce your pain. It could also help increase brain blood flow to your frontal lobe, which might improve emotional control.

Mindfulness teaches your brain how to relax. Instead of focusing on mental chatter, you dedicate more time to focusing on your breathing. However, MBSR doesn’t work for everyone.

If you’re feeling excessive stress and lower back pain, consider contacting a doctor or chiropractor. They can help you ease your pain. For example, you can visit this chiropractor to reduce your muscle tension and potentially ease your pain.

In the meantime, try stretching.

Keeping your muscles stretched can help ease your pain. Otherwise, maintain a consistent exercise routine. Movement and exercise can help strengthen your back over time.


Not many people realize smoking often contributes to lower back pain. Some patients with spinal disorders experienced dramatic improvement with their back pain once they quit smoking. Meanwhile, smokers are three times more likely to develop chronic back pain than nonsmokers.

Smoking impacts how your body responds to your pain. Your mind could become less resilient in responding to or ignoring pain signals.

Smoking can also impact your blood flow. Nicotine alters the size of your blood vessels. As a result, your muscles within the spine region can become damaged.

Smoking also impacts the discs in your spine. These discs are soft cushions that help your range of motion. Without the necessary nutrition, your discs will begin to break down.

The presence of nicotine in your blood can impact your body’s ability to heal.

Meanwhile, your blood will no longer carry nutrients to the muscles around your spine. Without these nutrients, healing is stalled, which can cause pain and discomfort.

Inflammation is your body’s response to illness and injury. It takes time for inflammation to fade. When inflammation persists, it can cause swelling and pain.

Smoking causes inflammation. It also impairs your immune function, which means the inflammation will persist.

If you’re looking for lower back pain help, try to quit smoking first. You might notice an improvement in your pain symptoms.


Back pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide. In fact, low back pain costs Americans around $50 billion in healthcare costs annually. One reason many people experience back pain is because they’re sitting all day.

If you’re looking for help with lower back pain, consider your work environment. Are you sitting in front of a computer all day? Your computer, desk, and keyboard could contribute to your pain.

Try to adjust your workstation.

First, consider using a standing desk or an adjustable table. Get on your feet! Standing up can relieve tension on your shoulders.

You can also try using an ergonomic laptop stand. Keyboard trays, active chairs, and wobble stools could help, too. Changing your office furniture can ease the strain on your back.

If you don’t want to get a standing desk, consider adjusting your monitor and chair. Make sure your feet are planted on the ground while you’re working. Your back should remain against your seat as well.

Improving your posture can help you avoid future lower back pain.


Remember, inflammation could add to your existing pain. There are some foods, such as fast food, that can contribute to inflammation. Try to avoid foods that are high in saturated fats.

Other foods that can increase inflammation include processed meats, sugary beverages like soda, and pretzels.

Instead, you might want to consider a plant-based diet. A few healthy anti-inflammatory foods include:

  • Berries (blackberries, strawberries, blueberries)
  • Fatty fish (salmon, anchovies, sardines)
  • Avocadoes
  • Broccoli
  • Green tea
  • Mushrooms
  • Peppers
  • Grapes
  • Olive oil
  • Turmeric
  • Dark chocolate
  • Tomatoes

Try to add anti-inflammatory spices to your meals, including cinnamon, garlic, ginger, and oregano.


Were you in a car crash recently? A crash could put your spine out of alignment, which might cause inflammation. If your spine isn’t aligned, the inflammation and pain could persist.

Plantar fasciitis pain in your heel could impact the way you walk. If your posture is impacted, it could cause lower back pain. An injury to your hips, shoulders, knees, or ankles can contribute to your pain, too.

If you’ve sustained a serious injury, try to schedule a regular massage. Massages can help relieve your stress (which can help you avoid tensing your muscles).

Physical therapy might help as well. A physical therapist can provide you with exercises you can use to ease your back pain.

If your injury is severe, you might need surgery.

Make sure to visit a chiropractor or physical therapist to explore your options.

Straighten Your Spine: 5 Common Causes of Lower Back Pain

Don’t live life in pain. Instead, consider these five common causes of lower back pain. If any of these sound familiar, consider seeking treatment right away.

Instead of living in pain, you can heal and improve your overall quality of life.

Looking for more helpful guides? Explore our featured Health and Wellness posts today!

The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.