Risk Factors for Low Back Pain and Sciatica
A risk factor is something that increases your likelihood of getting a disease or condition.
It is possible to develop low back pain or sciatica with or without the risk factors listed below. However, the more risk factors you have, the greater your likelihood of developing low back pain or sciatica. If you have a number of risk factors, ask your doctor what you can do to reduce your risk.
Overuse of the back muscles can happen during any activity.
Risk factors include:
Scoliosis is an abnormal curvature of the spine that can cause low back pain, especially in adults.
Muscles that support the back can become weak with lack of exercise.
Work that requires the following motions puts additional stress on the back:
- Heavy lifting
- Bending or twisting
- Exposure to vibrations, such as riding in a car or operating heavy machinery
- Injuries from contact sports or falls can result in back pain
- High-impact sports, such as distance running
Smoking may cause discs in the spine to wear down.
Maintaining a healthy weight is important for your overall health. Extra weight can increase pressure on the spinal muscles and discs.
When you lift objects with your back muscles instead of the stronger muscles in your legs, you increase your risk of back injury.
As you grow older, the discs in your back begin to lose water content and degenerate. This increases the risk of disc problems and back pain, especially after age 40. However, even with some disc degeneration, most people do not have back pain.
Stress, anxiety, and negative mood may increase your risk of low back pain.
- EBSCO Medical Review Board Michael Woods, MD, FAAP
- Reviewed: 12/2017
- Updated: 12/20/2014
Please note, not all procedures included in this resource library are available at Henry Ford Allegiance Health or performed by Henry Ford Allegiance Health physicians.
All EBSCO Publishing proprietary, consumer health and medical information found on this site is accredited by URAC. URAC's Health Web Site Accreditation Program requires compliance with 53 rigorous standards of quality and accountability, verified by independent audits. To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at HLEditorialTeam@ebscohost.com.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.