Sometimes you can pinpoint the bad move that had you waking up the next morning with a sore lower back. It may take a while, but eventually a back injury will heal. Chronic back pain, however, especially in the lower back, is a common problem that, for a lot of people, doesn’t just go away. It causes people to lose productivity on the job and miss entire work days. What’s going on?

If you suffer from chronic lower back pain, check this list of five causes of back pain provided by Dr. Jerrel Boyer, a neurosurgeon at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago:

  • Underlying diseases. Arthritis and osteoporosis, for example, can lead to degenerating joints, bones and muscles and also inflammation, which can cause pain.
  • Genetics and age. Lower back pain most commonly begins affecting adults between the ages of 30 and 40, and genetics can increase the risk of certain diseases that cause lower back pain.
  • Lack of physical activity. A sedentary lifestyle can lead to weight gain, which in turn puts more pressure on the back.
  • Occupational hazards. Hairdressers are very familiar with this one! Standing for long periods of time can place strain on the back. Make sure to take breaks to walk, bend, stretch and sit.
  • Smoking. In addition to contributing to serious ailments like cancer and osteoporosis, which can lead to back pain, smoking restricts the blood flow to the spine, which can cause disc degeneration and prevent overall healing.

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