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Health life,Six Surprising Causes of Back Pain that are Avoidable

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Health life,Six Surprising Causes of Back Pain that are Avoidable

The reality is 80% of us will suffer from back pain at some point in our lives. And yet, getting the correct treatment to alleviate back pain can be a frustrating and challenging task, for both patients and healthcare providers.


Anytime such a large percentage of the population suffers from an ailment, you can be certain an entire economy will pop up purporting to be able to solve the problem. For this reason, there’s a lot of nonsense out there about new and unique methods to “cure” back pain. As a general rule, the word “cure” is misleading and deceptive, and will leave patients frustrated and disenchanted with their progress. However, with the right treatment approach you can effectively manage back pain and reduce the negative impact it has on your life.

Many of the solutions marketed to patients treat back pain as a single diagnosis. In fact, the term “back pain” is not really a diagnosis at all, rather a description of a symptom. Treating all patients that present with back pain the same is like prescribing antibiotics to every patient with abdominal pain. Just as there are many diagnoses that cause abdominal pain, there are several distinct types of back pain.

A skilled physiotherapist can diagnose your issue by identifying the specific type of problem you have, and customize a treatment plan. Accurately matching the diagnosis to the treatment plan is crucial to reducing your back pain. This is a relatively rare skill, requiring training and experience to develop strong diagnostic skills, so finding a qualified physiotherapist is paramount.

Below are some of the more common types of back pain, and many of you may recognize your own symptoms in the descriptions. These are followed by key elements and strategies that should be included in a treatment plan for that particular pain pattern. However, it’s critical to note there is no substitute for a full assessment performed by an experienced physiotherapist.


Most of us know the usual culprits of back pain: stress, excess body weight, improper lifting technique, and poor posture. While these are a few of the typical causes, unexpected issues can also be the root of the problem. Most cases of back pain are mechanical or non organic, meaning they are not caused by serious conditions, such as inflammatory arthritis, infection, fracture or cancer (source).

Jefit spoke to Dr. Gbolahan Okubadejo, a NYC area Orthopedic and Spinal Surgeon to discuss some of the surprising factors that could be causing your back pain. 

1. Smoking

Smoking increases brain activity which makes people less resilient when it comes to responding to back pain. In addition, smoking also causes premature aging of discs by decreasing blood supply to the discs, thus leading to pain in the lower back.

2. Time to Replace the Old Mattress

Old mattresses start to form dips from years of use. The dips in the mattress cause the spine to curve, leading to constant stiffness or pain. A mattress that is too firm can cause strain on pressure points in the knees, hip, shoulders, and back, which can cause backaches. If the mattress is too soft, your spine is not supported well enough, and the spine can fall out of alignment.

3. Your Backpack, Purse or Wallet

Structural imbalances in the spinal column can occur when you sit on your wallet. This can happen because one side of your body is higher than the other, and an excess amount of physical stress is placed on the lower spine. This can lead to lower back pain and numbness. Carrying a heavy purse or bag on one shoulder can also cause a neck and spinal tilt that can lead to backaches. Remove your wallet (and phone) from your back pocket when you are sitting down, and regularly switch your purse from one shoulder to another. 

4. Dehydration

When you are dehydrated, the spinal discs lose water, and your spine becomes distressed. When this happens, the spine takes on the full shock of your movements, which can lead to increased pain. Avoid drinks with caffeine and drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. 

5. Your Cell Phone (“Tech Neck”)

Constantly hunching your neck over to look down at your phone compresses and tightens the muscles and tendons in the front structure of your neck. This creates imbalance and results in reduced mobility, shoulder and neck pain, a curvature formation at the upper back, and even headaches. In 2022, Americans spent a daily average of 7 hours and 50 minutes with digital media, including 4 hours, 26 minutes a day on non-voice activities on mobile devices — and it’s estimated that the daily average will be over 8 hours in 2023.

The strain on the neck is real and so is “tech neck.” Looking down at your phone can place the neck into about 30 degrees of flexion, comparable to lifting 40 pounds with your neck muscles. As neck flexion increases to 45 to 60 degrees, so does the load, increasing to 49 to 60 pounds!

6. Incorrect Ergonomic Work Set Up

Many people have been working from home as a result of the pandemic. Working from home more often has led to an increase in slouching and hunching in front of our laptops or other home setups for work. Slouching can lead to neck and shoulder pain, back problems, and stiff hips. Make sure to sit all the way back in a computer chair and keep your thighs horizontal to your knees at hip level. It is also important to make sure the screen is at eye level when seated or when using a standing desk.

Trainer Tip



When you feel like your back or neck are on overload, try this simple stretch, called supine 90/90. Lie on the floor face up (supine position). Bend the knees and place them on your couch or over a chair. This places the hips and knees at 90 degree angles. Breath and relax for seven to ten minutes. This will unload the spine and your neck and back should feel better. Gravity will help to restore your spine. Perform this stretch daily or as needed.

Try the Award-Winning Jefit App

Try Jefit app, named best app for 2022 and 2023 by PC MagazineMen’s Health, The Manual, the Greatist and many others. The app comes equipped with a customizable workout planner and training log. The app also has ability to track data, offer audio cues, and has a feature to share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefit’s exercise database for your strength workouts. Visit our members-only Facebook group. Connect with like-minded people, share tips, and advice to help get closer to reaching your fitness goals. Try one of the new interval-based workouts and add it to your weekly training schedule. Stay strong with Jefit as you live your fitness lifestyle.


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