Risk Factors of Back Pain

Risk Factors of Back Pain: Heredity
Causes of back pain, including disc disease, may have a genetic component.
(Click Causes of Back Pain for more information about possible back pain causes.)
Risk Factors of Back Pain: Race
Studies have shown that African-American women are 2 to 3 times more likely than Caucasian women to develop spondylolisthesis. Spondylolisthesis is a condition in which a vertebra of the lower spine -- also called the lumbar spine -- slips out of place, thus causing back pain.
(Click Lumbar Spinal Stenosis for more information about the lumbar spine.)
Risk Factors of Back Pain: Presence of Other Diseases
Many diseases can cause or contribute to back pain, including various forms of arthritis, such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis, and cancers elsewhere in the body that may spread to the spine.
Risk Factors of Back Pain: Occupational Risk Factors
Having a job that requires heavy lifting, pushing, or pulling -- particularly when this involves twisting or vibrating the spine -- can lead to injury and back pain. An inactive job or a desk job may also lead to or contribute to back pain, especially if you have poor posture or sit all day in an uncomfortable chair.
Risk Factors of Back Pain: Cigarette Smoking
Although smoking may not directly cause back pain, it can increase a person's risk of developing low back pain and low back pain with sciatica. Sciatica is back pain that radiates to the hip and/or leg due to pressure on a nerve. Examples of why smoking may increase a person's risk of developing low back pain include:
  • Smoking may lead to pain by blocking your body's ability to deliver nutrients to the discs of the lower back.
  • Repeated coughing due to heavy smoking may cause back pain.
  • It is also possible that smokers are just less physically fit or less healthy than nonsmokers, which increases the likelihood that they will develop back pain.
  • Smoking can slow healing, prolonging pain for people who have had back injuries, back surgery, or broken bones.
(Click Sciatica for more information about this type of lower back pain.)
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Back Pain Information

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