Causes

7 Surprising Causes of Back Pain

HealthCentral Editorial Staff Mar 30th, 2012 (updated Feb 4th, 2015)
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THAT caused my back pain?
THAT caused my back pain?

Many of us have hurt our backs by lifting heavy things, falling, or taking a bad step on stairs or ladders. But experts say there are some everyday back pain triggers that many people aren't even aware can hurt their backs. In this slideshow, we take a look at some unlikely causes of back pain.

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Wallets
Wallets

Carrying a wallet in your back pocket can trigger back pain by pressing on the sciatic nerve when you're seated. To avoid this back pain trigger, try carrying your wallet in a front pocket or taking your wallet out of your back pocket when you sit down.

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Couches
Couches

Overexertion can hurt your back, but sitting still for long periods of time can also trigger back pain. The body likes to be in motion, so sitting still for extended periods can lead to stiffness and aches.

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Cell phones
Cell phones

Long periods of cell phone use cause you to arch your neck and hold your body in a strange posture. This can lead to back pain. Pain due to cell phone use doesn't end there, either. People who text a lot can also develop pain in their thumbs and wrists!

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Driving
Driving

Just as sitting on a couch for extended periods can lead to back pain, so can driving long distances. Not only are you sitting, but you're often holding yourself in the same position, not even able to move your arms or legs in any significant way. If your car has cruise control, try using this feature. It can at least allow you to shift your sitting position and stretch your legs.

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Computer bags
Computer bags

Laptop bags are designed to be thrown over the shoulder so that the user can be "on the go" with ease. But carrying a laptop bag -- even one that holds just a small laptop -- over one shoulder can throw off the body's balance and lead to back and neck pain.

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Flip flops and sandals
Flip flops and sandals

Light shoes such as flip flops and sandals may make a great fashion statement, but they're very hard on your feet and back. To avoid back pain caused by your shoes, try something with better arch support that offers more stability for your feet.

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Smoking
Smoking

Smoking is perhaps one of the most surprising causes of back pain. Smoking reduces the flow of oxygen to your working muscles. This weakens the back and makes it more easily injured when you're doing physical work.