Low Back Pain: How it Happens, and What to Do About It

Low Back Pain: How it Happens, and What to Do About It

Lower back pain (LBP) is a problem that is unfortunately too common and costly. About 70% of Australian adults will experience LBP in their lives and costs us $9.1 billion per year! Acute LBP is classified as an LBP episode that lasted less than 12 weeks and although 90% of individuals with acute LBP recover in about 2 weeks, the risk of recurrence is still 20-60%. That’s why it is crucial to manage it properly in the early stages of LBP. 


A lot of our work nowadays happens in front of a computer which means our hours of activity reduces and sedentary behaviours increase. Being inactive and sedentary, is not a natural thing for us to do as our bodies are made to move. This can lead to increased tension/tightness, reduced strength, endurance and activity in the muscles that stabilise our spine and posture. 

On the other hand, if we have a labour-intensive job which includes heavy and/or repetitive work, we can overload our back muscles. If we don’t allow these muscles to rest and recover, then this can be a potential cause of LBP. 


  • WORK ERGONOMICS: Improving your work ergonomics won’t directly reduce your chances LBP from occurring or recovering but it can help prevent your postural muscles from working too hard which can be a cause for LBP. Some simple tips may include: avoiding a slouched sitting posture, sitting up tall, have a chair that supports your back, and the top of your computer screen aligned to your eyes. 
  • TAKE BREAKS: Taking regular breaks to stand up, have a stretch or walk around will help reduce muscle tension build up from long periods of being in one position.
  • SAFE MANUAL HANDLING TECHNIQUES: Keep your back straight and bend through the knees to lift, and keep objects close to your body when carrying will avoid putting strain through your back. 


  • REMAIN CALM: When we are in pain we tend to hyperventilate and remain rigid as a normal response. Try to slow down your breathing and take deep breaths. Understand that our spines are very durable and made to last. 
  • REDUCE STRESS AND STAY POSITIVE: LBP is quite interesting in the way that it is not totally a physical problem. High stress and anxiety levels can greatly impact on our pain levels. By relaxing and reducing stress, we can directly reduce our pain. 
  • STAY ACTIVE AND AVOID BED REST: It may be tempting to just rest and recover during an LBP episode, but it is crucial that you try to remain active and return to movement slowly. This will reduce stiffness and relieve muscle spasms.
  • FIND COMFORTABLE POSITIONS: In the acute stages of LBP, there will be certain positions that you won’t like. It is best that you avoid going into these aggravating positions until it is more tolerable to slowly expose yourself to those movements and positions again.