According to Patrick Roth, M.D., chairman of the department of neurosurgery at New Jersey’s Hackensack University Medical Center and author of The End of Back Pain, “If you go on the street and pick a random group of people, 20 percent will say they have back pain right now, 40 percent will have had it in the past year, and 80 percent have had back pain over the course of their lives.”


While some causes of back pain may be obvious, such as improper lifting form, poor posture, or bad sleep habits, other causes of back pain may surprise you! Here are 9 surprising causes of back pain.

  1. Smoking // Smoking decreases blood supply to the discs in the back, making them age prematurely. It also affects the way the brain responds to back pain by decreasing people’s pain threshold. Two more reasons why smoking is very, very bad for you.
  2. Your mattress // A medium-firm mattress is the ideal type for your back. When your mattress is too soft, the weight on your back is uneven and can lead to subluxations and pain.
  3. Sitting // Sitting puts pressure on the discs in your back, decreasing blood supply and increasing the chance of disc injury. Stand up while you work, take breaks to stretch your legs and get your blood flowing, and take care of your back.
  4. Your bag // Carrying around a heavy briefcase, backpack, diaper bag, or even a heavy wallet can change the curve of your spine and lead to back pain. While we understand these are often necessities, take the time to clean out your bags regularly so you aren’t carrying around unnecessary junk.
  5. Stress // Stress causes muscles to tighten and may even lead to bulging discs, which cause pain.
  6. Your cell phone // The text-neck struggle is real. Talking on your phone and staring downs at screens all day long create uneven pressure on the spine and lead to back and neck pain.
  7. Diet // Being overweight puts more pressure on your back and leaves you more susceptible to back pain. Those who are extremely overweight are at a 4x greater risk for experiencing lower back pain.
  8. Slumped shoulders // Poor posture and slumped shoulders pull on your back and lead to pain. Make a solid effort to maintain great posture- it matters!
  9. Your shoes // Fit in footwear is the most important element in preventing shoes from causing back pain. Sensible shoes trump stilettos any day of the week.

If you are experiencing back pain, it’s time to give us a call. We can help relieve your pain and have you feeling 100%!