Why focus on back pain?

​​​Some Facts about Low Back Pain (LBP)

Back pain is very common, affecting a large number of the population. (1,2)

8 out of 10 people will experience back pain at some point in their lives, and it is one of the commonest reasons why middle aged people visit their GP

However, in most cases there is no serious underlying cause of the back pain. There may be a variety of factors which affect the risk of developing back pain, including lack of exercise, stiffness and poor posture. This is referred to as "simple" back pain

Whilst LBP can be very uncomfortable, it is not usually serious (3)
With the right guidance and support, most people with back pain can recover without the need for medical help.

Modifiable Risk Factors

Whilst many factors may be involved in someone developing back pain, and can affect whether that pain becomes persistent and disabling or not there are some modifiable lifestyle risk factors that it may be helpful to make people aware of, The main factor is lack of physical activity.

Other contributing factors

Being overweight
Smoking - this can delay tissue healing and people who smoke tend to have unhealthier lifestyles than people who don't smoke
Stress –can increase the amount of pain that someone feels and can cause tension in the back muscles.


1. Long et al. Persistent back pain and sciatica in the US: patient characteristics. J. Spinal Disord Tech 1996; 9;40
2. Woolf et al. Burden of major musculoskeletal conditions. B World Organ 2003. 81; 646-56
3. NHS Choices Your Health, Your Choices

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