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Common Causes of Lower Back Pain and How to Prevent It

Four out of five adults will experience lower back pain at some point in their life. Undeniably, it isn’t fun. You wake up and you may struggle to get out of bed. Chances are, you didn’t have a good sleep because of the pain. And now, you’re preparing for a rough day as the pain continues. 

Lower back pain can throw a wrench into your life and your plans. It can even happen suddenly, such as when you’re simply putting your pants on in the morning — something you do every single day. It can be frustrating.

So, what’s going on? Why does lower back pain happen in the first place? And how can you prevent it?

Common Causes of Lower Back Pain

In truth, there are many potential reasons as to why your lower back is hurting. However, the most common causes include:

A Muscle Strain or Ligament Sprain

A muscle strain happens when the muscle is pulled past its limits. A ligament sprain is very similar, but it involves a ligament being pulled past its normal limits. This can happen from repetitive movements — or even from lifting a heavy object from the ground the wrong way. A sudden movement, chronic poor posture, and sports injuries may also contribute to ligament sprains or muscle strains and the development of lower back pain. 

While these types of injuries are generally not too serious, they can take some time to heal. Recovery may range from four to six weeks. And the pain — although temporary — can feel very severe. When you go to twist or move your back, you can quickly aggravate the injury-causing significant pain.

Typically, this is the reason for acute lower back pain. Many of the other common causes of lower back pain are due to chronic reasons.

A Herniated Disc

The spine is made up of a network of vertebrae, discs, ligaments, nerves, and more. The discs act as shock-absorbers between each vertebra, preventing painful bone-on-bone contact.

As you age, these discs become more susceptible to rupturing. They also become more dehydrated and lose their shock-absorbing capabilities. This means they can protrude past the bones and place pressure on nerves, causing pain. 


Osteoarthritis is a common arthritic condition that impacts the spine. This arthritic condition develops naturally over time and with age. It can lead to the degeneration of the discs, which can cause herniated discs. It can also lead to inflammation, which also causes pain.

In some situations, arthritis may also cause a narrowing of the spine impacting the spinal cord — a condition referred to as spinal stenosis. 


Osteoporosis is a condition where the body is unable to produce enough bone, or else it loses bone too quickly. This leads to decreased bone density throughout the body. It can also cause minor fractures to occur in the spine, leading to significant pain.

Preventing Lower Back Pain

The good news? Back pain is entirely preventable. Use the tips below to help you avoid becoming part of the stats:

  • Perform regular exercise, including low-impact aerobic options and back stretches.
  • Improve your muscular strength and flexibility. This will help reduce your risk of injuries in general.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Work on your posture and maintain a straight and neutral alignment throughout your day (especially if you sit at a desk all day).
  • Take movement or walk breaks every one to two hours if you sit at a desk for most of your day.
  • Lift using proper techniques. 

Contact ADM Ottawa Today

Are you already experiencing lower back pain? At ADM Ottawa Physiotherapy, we are here to help and our physiotherapists are experienced when it comes to treating back pain. We also offer other solutions to help you deal with your pain, such as orthopedic physio, acupuncture and more.

With us, you know you’re putting your health in hands you can trust. Book your appointment today!

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