Low back pain occurs in most people at some stage in their life. Although back pain may occur quite suddenly possibly resulting from an over-straining incident, it most commonly occurs very gradually with a number of minor episodes becoming more painful on each occasion. It might develop into severe pain, although this does depend on the cause of the back pain.


There are many factors that cause low back pain. Some of the common causes which we have some control over  are posture, exercise, sitting position, lifting and working habits, sports etc. Working with a professional therapist (osteopath, physiotherapist etc) will enable you to identify key factors affecting your back, and how you can improve your back pain. An example of this is somebody who has poor sagging posture (known as kypho-scoliosis). Over a period of time the poor posture causes muscle and ligament strain and inflammation of the joints and discs, which may cause back pain, trapped nerve, sciatica etc.


Other examples of causes of back pain:

Muscular strain – the postural muscles of the back are equivalent to the rigging on a sailing ship. Each has its own specific purpose and each is dependent upon all of the other muscles to hold good posture and avoid back pain. Muscles may become strained because of trauma, poor posture, heavy lifting, sports injuries, limping caused by another injury, repetitive strain etc.


“Slipped Disk” - disks are actually the shock absorbers between each pair of vertebrae. They are also are kind of bendy joint that allows movement between the vertebrae. They do not actually slip, but they do become ruptured, prolapsed, herniated, bulging and strained or sprained. Damaged disks are less common than other forms of back injury and extremely painful. Left untreated, they can become permanently damaged with severe consequences. Osteopaths and physiotherapists are normally able to diagnose disk damage, and offer appropriate advice and treatment.


Sacro-iliac joints are the point where the base of the spine meets the pelvis, These can become inflamed, arthritic, immobile, strained etc.


Facet Joints are the small joints on either side of the spine that stabilise and control spinal movement. They may be small, but can easily become inflamed and very painful. This often causes a “locking” or stiffening in the spine.


These are just some of the causes of back pain. Professional osteopaths and physiotherapists are experts in diagnosing these and many other causes of back pain.