About 80 percent of Americans will have lower back pain at some point in their lives, the U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke estimates.
Lower back pain can range from a dull ache to a sharp stabbing sensation that renders a person unable to move.
The agency identifies some risk factors for lower back pain:
- Age: The first instance tends to occur between ages 30 and 50, and back pain becomes more common with advancing age.
- Fitness level: Back pain occurs more often among people who aren’t physically fit.
- Pregnancy: Being pregnant is commonly accompanied by low back pain, which results from changes in weight and pelvic alignment.
- Weight gain: Being overweight, obese, or gaining weight quickly can put stress on the back.
- Genetics: Some causes of back pain, such as ankylosing spondylitis (a form of arthritis), have a genetic component.
- Occupation: Having a job that requires heavy lifting, pushing or pulling can lead to injury and back pain.
- Backpack overload: A backpack overfilled with books and supplies can strain the back.
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