What Causes Lower Back Pain and How You Can Avoid It | MOBE

What Causes Lower Back Pain and How You Can Avoid It

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The lower back is a wondrously complex structure with many nerves, tendons, and muscles that supports much of the weight of your upper body. More than 8 out of 10 people experience low back pain at some point in their lives.1 That’s a lot of people. And a lot of ibuprofen.

Here are five reasons why low back pain is so common and some tips you can practice every day to prevent it.

1. Life requires a lot of lifting and twisting.

2. Spines weren't made to sit as much as we do.

3. Aging wears down discs.

4. Less active lives mean weaker muscles for spine support.

5. Emotions, like stress, can affect your back.

What can we do about low back pain?

If you know the decisions, activities, and life choices that can lead to low back pain, you can take steps to avoid it.

Use good form when you lift.2

  • Take a pause to think before you lift.
  • Get help if an object is too heavy for you.
  • Lift from the knees with stomach muscles pulled in.
  • Keep your head down and in line with a straight back.
  • Keep objects close to the body.
  • Avoid twisting when lifting.

Focus on better sitting habits.3

  • Use a chair that supports your lower back with feet resting comfortably on the floor.
  • Position work surfaces at a comfortable height so you don’t have to reach up or slouch over.
  • Practice dynamic sitting behavior—small movements and stretches can prevent muscle fatigue.
  • Take frequent mini breaks to walk around at least every 30 minutes.

Strengthen your core and find other exercises you love.2

  • Doing something you like means you’re more likely to follow through.
  • Consult an expert for exercises that specifically target the lower back and abdominal muscles.
  • Start slow and focus on activities right for your age.
  • Be consistent to both build strength and avoid overuse injury.

Above all, know you’re not alone when it comes to experiencing low back pain and there are steps you can take to find relief.

Getting help from a dedicated MOBE Guide.

Have you been introduced to a MOBE Guide? Our health professionals are trained to listen to your story and evaluate your unique health challenges, including habits that might be contributing to low back pain. They can make life-changing recommendations custom-fit for you.

A MOBE Guide can help you find even more ways to move toward better health and more happiness. Get started today.


1. Wheeler SG, et al. Evaluation of low back pain in adults. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/evaluation-of-low-back-pain-in-adults. Accessed Jan. 7, 2018.

2. Low back pain fact sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. https://www.ninds.nih.gov/sites/default/files/migrate-documents/low_back_pain_20-ns-5161_march_2020_508c.pdf. Accessed Dec. 18, 2018.

3. Harvard Medical School. Don’t take back pain sitting down. https://www.health.harvard.edu/pain/dont-take-back-pain-sitting-down