Why do I have back pain? Geelong Chiropractor explains

Posted on September 12, 2022 in News


In our Geelong clinic, many of our patients come to us experiencing back pain that they can’t explain. They haven’t experienced any trauma or injured themselves in an accident or during exercise. When you look at your spinal health in a holistic way many factors can contribute to the reason behind your pain. Our Geelong Chiropractors can help find the cause of your back pain so that we can work towards your recovery and minimise the risk of reoccurrence.

Most people realise that with increased age, a history of trauma and injury and other underlying health conditions such as arthritis and diabetes you are more likely to have back pain.

However, there are many surprising reasons that can contribute to the cause of your back pain. We are passionate about helping our patients to make better lifestyle choices to reduce their risk of back pain and empower them to look after their spinal health.


Recent studies have shown that prolonged sitting is associated with increased back pain as well as other health conditions. There really isn’t a good or bad way to sit but more importantly, the total time spent sitting per day is a better indicator of good or bad health outcomes and back pain. Sitting for more than 8 hours per day is considered the tipping point when tied in with a lack of physical activity. 

Check out our short video below on working from home, sitting, and what you should be doing to counteract back pain.

Additionally, research has suggested the effects of sitting can be negated by doing 60-75 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per day. We are strong believers in being physically active and encourage all patients to do so where possible, by doing movement they enjoy.12345678

Some of the exercises that we love to do as a team include:

  • Running or Walking
  • Taking Classes – Boxing, Yoga or Pilates
  • Weight Lifting
  • Swimming
  • Or getting out and being active outdoors


Several studies have linked smoking and chronic back pain. Smoking actually dehydrates (decreasing their ability to shock absorb and also referred to as desiccation) the spinal discs, causing them to age prematurely causing instability and degeneration and in turn pain. It is also accepted that smoking decreases blood supply and in turn, leads to poor healing as well as making people more sensitized to pain signals in the brain. The more people smoke the more likely they are to experience chronic low back pain and pain referral into the legs (Sciatica)9101112

Degeneration of spine

As seen above (Left to right) Healthy spine disc and nerve to severe disc disease, wearing and arthritic change.


Weight gain and obesity can be a contributing factor to back pain. Studies have looked at the relationship between increased weight and an increased risk of both back pain and mental health conditions.13 

Women who become pregnant are an example of changes in weight and weight distribution. The body goes through amazing changes during pregnancy and the body adapts uniquely to this situation, these changes put more pressure on put on your back as your baby grows. Back pain during pregnancy is common141516 and we love helping pregnant patients throughout their term and into postpartum care. 

lower back pain in pregnancy

Chiropractic treatment can be tailored to each stage of pregnancy and there has been positive research on receiving chiropractic care and less intervention during birth as well as decreasing pain outcomes. 1718

We commonly see patients in our clinic during pregnancy and postpartum with

  • Lower back pain
  • Mid back pain
  • Sciatica
  • Foot/ankle pain.


Other injuries or ailments can sometimes be the source of back pain. This may be a result of an old injury to the spine or an injury into the arm and leg that is now contributing to your back pain or has set in motion a chain of events that now give you back pain

For example, a condition called plantar fascitis can give you pain in your heel/foot and can alter the way you walk, you compensate by altering your posture and movement. This can put undue stress and pressure on your spine causing pain in your lower back.

Studies have looked at previous injury as a determining factor for re-injury and or new injury and naturally, there does appear to be a connection. 1920

Chiropractors are able to assess and treat more than just back pain. Getting to the underlying cause of your back pain through thorough assessment is something we are passionate about.


Dehydrated discs in your spine hamper mobility, which can lead to a change in healthy function and in turn back pain. This is referred to as disc desiccation. 

In most healthy bodies, the discs rehydrate during the night with the water you’ve consumed. This process is called intradiscal fluid exchange because it replaces the old fluids with new hydration. The tissue in the discs gets replenished when the body rests and can undergo the restorative process.

We also know that dehydration has an effect on our pain perception, likely increasing pain sensitivity and catastrophising pain. 21

Healthy Drink Alternative

Our Tips for staying hydrated!

  • Flavour your water with lemon or lime or try our favourite festive mix of: (Maybe add a photo of our water if we have one)

Soda water, mint, lime juice and frozen raspberries

  • Keep a drink bottle with you while you work to prompt you to drink at regular intervals throughout the day.
  • Limit diuretics i.e coffee, tea, and alcohol.

If you have any questions, reach out. We would love to see if we can help you

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  • 1: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/expert-answers/sitting/faq-20058005
  • 2: Lakerveld J, et al. Sitting too much: A hierarchy of socio-demographic correlates. Preventive Medicine. 2017;101:77.
  • 3:Saeidifard F, et al. Differences of energy expenditure while sitting versus standing: A systematic review and meta-analysis. European Journal of Preventive Cardiology. 2018;25:5224:
  • 4: Prolonged sitting linked to serious health risks, death. American Academy of Family Physicians. https://www.aafp.org/news/health-of-the-public/20150127sitting.html. Accessed April 10, 2018.
  • 5: Diaz KM, et al. Patterns of sedentary behavior and mortality in U.S. middle-aged and older adults: A national cohort study. Annals of Internal Medicine. 2017;167:465.
  • 6: Biddle SJH, et al. Too much sitting and all-cause mortality: Is there a causal link? BMC Public Health. 2016;16:635.
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  • 9: Green BN, Johnson CD, Snodgrass J, Smith M, Dunn AS. Association Between Smoking and Back Pain in a Cross-Section of Adult Americans. Cureus. 2016 Sep 26;8(9):e806. doi: 10.7759/cureus.806. PMID: 27790393; PMCID: PMC5081254.
  • 10: Schembri E, Massalha V, Spiteri K, Camilleri L, Lungaro-Mifsud S. Nicotine dependence and the International Association for the Study of Pain neuropathic pain grade in patients with chronic low back pain and radicular pain: is there an association? Korean J Pain. 2020 Oct 1;33(4):359-377. doi: 10.3344/kjp.2020.33.4.359. PMID: 32989201; PMCID: PMC7532299.
  • 11: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/why-smoking-will-worsen-your-chronic-pain/
  • 12: Smoking increases risk of pain chronification through shared corticostriatal circuitry, Bogdan Petre, et al., Human Brain Mapping, doi: 10.1002/hbm.22656, published online 12 October 2014
  • 13: Chou L, Brady SRE, Urquhart DM, Teichtahl AJ, Cicuttini FM, Pasco JA, Brennan-Olsen SL, Wluka AE. The Association Between Obesity and Low Back Pain and Disability Is Affected by Mood Disorders: A Population-Based, Cross-Sectional Study of Men. Medicine (Baltimore). 2016 Apr;95(15):e3367. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000003367. PMID: 27082599; PMCID: PMC4839843.
  • 14: Katonis P, Kampouroglou A, Aggelopoulos A, Kakavelakis K, Lykoudis S, Makrigiannakis A, Alpantaki K. Pregnancy-related low back pain. Hippokratia. 2011 Jul;15(3):205-10. PMID: 22435016; PMCID: PMC3306025.
  • 15: Perkins J, Hammer RL, Loubert PV. Identification and management of pregnancy-related low back pain. J Nurse Midwifery. 1998;43:331–340.
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  • 17: Borggren CL. Pregnancy and chiropractic: a narrative review of the literature. J Chiropr Med. 2007 Jun;6(2):70-4. doi: 10.1016/j.jcme.2007.04.004. PMID: 19674697; PMCID: PMC2647084.
  • 18:J.M. Fallon. Textbook on chiropractic & pregnancy. Arlington, VA: International Chiropractic Association; 1994: 52, 109.
  • 19:Greene HS, Cholewicki J, Galloway MT, Nguyen CV, Radebold A. A History of Low Back Injury is a Risk Factor for Recurrent Back Injuries in Varsity Athletes. The American Journal of Sports Medicine. 2001;29(6):795-800. doi:10.1177/03635465010290062001
  • 20: Fulton J, Wright K, Kelly M, Zebrosky B, Zanis M, Drvol C, Butler R. Injury risk is altered by previous injury: a systematic review of the literature and presentation of causative neuromuscular factors. Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2014 Oct;9(5):583-95. PMID: 25328821; PMCID: PMC4196323.
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