8 Causes of Back Pain

Got back pain? This article covers the most common causes of back pain.


According to research studies, the likelihood of missing 10+ days of work quadruples if you have back pain. In fact, there have been over 83 million days where people have been unable to work due to back pain. This chronic pain plagues over 16 million individuals in the U.S. and costs 12 billion dollars annually. Back pain is incredibly debilitating, both individually and nationally, and experts have identified the top eight causes. 

Causes of Back Pain: Genetics


Researchers have discovered three genetic variants linked to back pain: SOX5, CCDC26/ GSDMC, and DCC. In layman terms, back pain can be inherited. This means that we should consider DNA in addition to typical factors of back pain (long periods of standing, manual labor, etc.). The National Institute of Health has also found a connection between genetics and social behaviors that increase the risk of back pain. 

Causes of Back Pain: Pregnancy


Back pain can be caused by pregnancy which softens the ligaments in the body in preparation for labor. An estimated 50% to 80% of women are affected by back pain during pregnancy, particularly between the fifth and seventh months. According to the Cleveland Clinic, this type of back pain can be alleviated by hot compresses, pregnancy bands, exercise, support pillows, and a supportive mattress. In most cases, this pain will disappear after delivery. 

Causes of Back Pain: Weight Gain

Weight Gain

Sadly, weight gain does cause back pain. Doctor Frisco at Veritas Health explains that "people who are overweight are at greater risk for back pain, joint pain, and muscle strain than those who are not.” Episodes of musculoskeletal pain, especially back pain, are prevalent among nearly one-third of Americans who are classified as obese. This makes sense as each pound on the body equals four pounds of weight on the spine. However, this also means that this type of back pain is treatable through weight-loss.

Causes of Back Pain: Gluten


Though there is no proof that gluten intolerance causes back pain, there does seem to be a correlation. Researchers have found that patients with non-celiac gluten sensitivity have been alleviated from back pain through gluten-free diets. Though there is no definitive evidence, these studies suggest that back pain might be caused by gluten. The connection between back pain celiac gluten sensitivity is currently under investigation. 

Causes of Back Pain: Weak Core

Weak Core

A weak core will cause back pain since the body has to rely on other structures for stability, such as ligaments, spinal bones, and discs. Because these structures are more delicate, they are far more likely to cause back pain. To prevent strain on these areas, exercise is very important. An exercise that can help with weak core strength is the plank which activates all core muscles at once, unlike a sit-up. Even one minute of this position is very beneficial. Make sure you have the correct form for a plank: 

  • First, lie down with your forearms on the floor and extend your legs about shoulder-width apart. 
  • Using your forearms, raise yourself so that you form a straight line—do not let your hips raise above your back or sag beneath it.
  • Look straight down so that your neck and head are in line with your body.
  • Try to hold this position for as long as you can. 
Causes of Back Pain: Hyper pronation and Hyper supination

Hyper pronation and Hyper supination

Issues with back pain, shin splints, knees, or hips can be related to your feet. Hyper pronation, colloquially called flat feet, can cause sores in your back and more. This is because you put the force of over five times the weight of your body on each foot as you take a step. If the foot does not redistribute or absorb the pressure as intended, it can cause problems elsewhere.

The Center for Spine and Orthopedics reports, "women who walk with flat feet are 50 percent more likely than those with normal or high arches to have low back pain." Another cause of back pain is hyper supination, where the feet are rolled outward with what seems to be a very high arch. The next time you experience back pain, consider your feet as a potential factor. 

Causes of Back Pain: Mattresses


According to Forbes, "your bed could be the main culprit" for that pain you wish were gone and the tool that "alleviates those constant aches." The right mattress not only provides the comfort you need for deep sleep, but also enough support to keep your spine aligned. The New York Times recommends the following mattresses to help relieve back pain: 

  • Saatva Classic
  • Leesa Hybrid 
  • Zenhaven 
  • Novaform Comfort Grande 
  • Charles P. Rogers Estate S.E. 
  • Tempur Adapt (Medium Hybrid)

A mattress is an important investment for those trying to reduce back pain, especially since we spend almost one-third of our lives sleeping.

Causes of Back Pain: Loss of Hip Mobility

Loss of Hip Mobility

Researchers have noticed a significant correlation between the loss of hip extension and lower back pain, finding that even a 10-degree loss of mobility can cause back pain. This is because as the hips lose their mobility, our body compensates by extending the spine. The lower back hyperextends to take on the load previously carried by the hips. This compensation can lead to lower back pain and injury. Some researchers have found that for patients with low hip mobility, hip exercises provide more relief than conventional back treatments. 


Back pain is a painful and debilitating condition that affects people in many different ways, perhaps even including you. If you are experiencing back pain, do not forget that the top eight causes of back pain are genetics, pregnancy, an unsupportive mattress, weight gain, loss of hip mobility, flat feet, a weak core, and gluten intolerance because they may be one of reasons for the very problem you are having.

About the Author

Brandon Landgraf is the Digital Marketing Manager for Carex Health Brands. He finds passion and fulfillment in creating content that enhances, improves, and enlivens others' quality of life. All of his written work is formulated to not only offer essential advice and tips but back it with proven studies and experts. His mission is to connect with readers and provide steps to make their lives better.

You can connect with him on LinkedIn here.

About Carex Health Brands

Carex is your one-stop shop for home medical equipment and for products that assist caregivers with providing the best possible support and care for their loved ones. Carex Health Brands has been the branded leader in in-home, self-care medical products for over 35 years. Our goal is to improve the lives of our customers by bring them quality products that bring dignity back to their lives. With our three nationally distributed brands, Carex Health Brands serves national, regional and independent food, drug and mass retailers along with wholesalers, distributors and medical dealers.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published