Why do we get back pain?


Back pain, specifically lower back pain accounts for around 50% of all clients we see here at The Markland Clinic. Recent studies demonstrated that over 80% of the population will experience back pain at some point in their life (1) . But the big question is why? To answer this question we need to look at 2 categories:


  1. Specific back pain

This is when there is a single cause of pain, it may be mechanical such as a fracture, neurological like a nerve root compression (known as radiculopathy) or non mechanical like an infection. While there are lots of conditions that provide a specific cause of lower back pain these are rare and account for less than 10% of all back pain. Serious conditions like cauda equine account for less than 1% of all back pain (2).


  1. Non-Specific back pain

This accounts for over 90% of all back pain . The cause of non specific pain is in 4 parts:


a. Physiological factors: stiffness/ weakness/ postural

b. Social factors: work, sports, other activities, environment

c. Psychological factors: stress, mood levels, sleep, fear of movement

d. Physical activity: more active= less risk of developing back pain


Back pain is a complex issue which differs for everybody, but with a full physiotherapy assessment the underlying causes can be explored and a clear treatment plan can be employed to keep you moving as much as possible.


Please check out our other blogs which focus on treatment and prevention!


Keep on moving!




Physiotherapist at The Markland Clinic.


  1. Balagué F1, Mannion AF, Pellisé F, Cedraschi C. (2012) Non-specific low back pain. Lancet. 482-91.
  2. Koes BW, van Tulder MW, Thomas S. (2006) Diagnosis and treatment of low back pain. BMJ.


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