Common Causes of Lower Back Pain

Written by Sandra Demian, Physiotherapist at Sylvania. Article from February 2019

Common Causes of Lower Back Pain


One of the most common causes of lower back pain is when we do activities that place the most postural stress on it. This is frequently brought on by sitting for a prolonged period of time in a poor position. Positions that cause your lower back to be rounded and lose that natural hollow curvature in your lower back (lordosis) is the main problem. When you reduce your lordosis for long periods of time it becomes more difficult to restore the natural curvature of the spine.

This poor posture that we adopt during seated working positions, awkward bending positions, poor lifting techniques has become a habit to most people and causes the start of these chronic conditions that people may simply be unaware of how to correct these postural faults. The effects of these poor postures in the long term can be just as severe and harmful as the effects of an injury.

Besides pain, another issue with adopting poor posture such as the constriction on certain organs that will not function at their optimum capacity with poor posture.

Poor posture is widespread in all our communities and is due to our increasingly sedentary lifestyles, it is not inevitable and the time to commence preventative actions is now.

When we sit slouched, the muscles that support our lower back become relaxed and tired. If we keep this slouched position it causes overstretching of ligaments and causes pain. Once this slouched position becomes a habit, it may also cause the discs to become distorted in the vertebral joints and produce pain.

To avoid the development of prolonged poor sitting habits it is necessary to sit correctly and to interrupt prolonged sitting regularly throughout the day. An example of the correct sitting posture is practising extreme lordosis then releasing the last 10% of the lordosis strain. Making sure you do not allow the lower back to flatten. Having this position whilst sitting in the correct sitting posture does require muscular effort and attention to be able to maintain this posture. Alternatively having a supportive backrest that allows you to recreate this posture is also something that can be incorporated to help maintain good seated posture.

Mckenzie, R. (2011) Treat your own back. New Zealand, Raumati Beach: Spinal Publications.

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