Low Back Pain Risk Factors

Are you suffering from low back pain or the occasional flare-up? It’s more common than you think. In fact, nearly one-third of adults say they suffer from low back pain. And according to new studies, there are quite a few factors that could be putting you in harm’s way.

Research presented at the 2015 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons pinpoints the following risk factors for low back pain:

  • Nicotine dependence
  • Obesity
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Depressive disorders

Luckily, many of these risk factors are what we call modifiable.

“Identifying these risk factors in patients and working with them to change habits for better health will not only help us prevent or minimize low back pain, but also reduce their likelihood to suffer from chronic pain that leads to poor quality of life, missed work and high medical costs down the road,” says Fred Bagares, D.O.

The following findings were presented at the conference:

The review found that 19.3 percent of the patients diagnosed with a depressive disorder reported lower back pain, as did 16.75 percent of patients diagnosed as obese (a body mass index, or BMI, >30kg/m²), 16.53 percent of the patients diagnosed with nicotine dependence, and 14.66 percent with reported alcohol abuse. Patients with nicotine dependence, obesity, depressive disorders, and alcohol abuse were had “statistically significant” relative risks of 4.489, 6.007, 5.511 and 3.326 for low back pain, respectively, when compared to other patients.

Avoiding Low Back Pain

Diminishing your risk for low back pain starts with discussing your risk factors with a physician.

“This new research allows us to improve how we counsel and track high-risk patients, and offers the opportunity to suggest lifestyle changes to help keep a healthy spine and healthy musculoskeletal system overall,” says Dr. Bagares. “As physicians, we can direct patients to the right resources for overcoming nicotine dependence and alcohol abuse, and recommend ways to maintain a healthy weight.”

Eating healthy, doing routine strengthening and stretching exercises, limiting alcohol use and avoiding smoking are all steps Rebound providers recommend for reducing the risk of low back pain and other health problems.

Nixing nicotine and alcohol not only may help you avoid low back pain, but also a host of other musculoskeletal issues. Learn more about how nicotine can interfere with bone health by checking out a past article of ours here.

Learn how obesity plays a role in the development of musculoskeletal problems here.

Get a full picture of bone health basics and ways to ensure spine health by reading this info from American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, or contact us at 1-800-REBOUND to discuss your risk factors with one of our specialists.


Related Rebound Resources:

Nix the Nicotine for Better Bone Health

Get Moving! Mobility and Spinal Pain

Add These Bone-Healthy Foods to Your Diet for an Ortho-Happy New Year

Trusted Resources:

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) – Low Back Pain

AAOS – Study identifies smoking, obesity, alcohol abuse and depressive disorders as low back pain risk factors

AAOS – Spine Basics

AAOS – Low Back Pain Exercise Guide