There are so many causes of back pain, it can feel like you’re searching for the answers, but you just can’t find them. That’s where we come in.

We’ve been there. We’ve seen hundreds of clients with back pain, so we understand just how much of your life it takes away. So to help you find the back pain cause that resonates most with you, we’ve compiled a handy little list to make things a bit easier.

The good news is, most of the time the cause of back pain is nothing to worry about. And it’s certainly nothing an amazing physio can’t sort out for you.

Minor injury

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Maybe you love exercise and you’ve taken it a bit too far. Maybe you’ve been a bit slack with the stretching recently. Or maybe you’ve just started exercising again and your body isn’t keen. It’s annoying, since exercising is supposed to be good for you, and it is. But at least you’ll know to warm up and ease into exercise next time.

Bad posture

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Bad posture at your desk, when walking or even relaxing can build up over time. It puts stress and strain on the wrong muscles and weakens the right ones. But there’s a simple fix. Try posture correcting exercises, yoga or Pilates. Or you could try getting a better desk chair, and making sure the chair in your car is in the right position.

Incorrect lifting

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If heavy lifting is a part of your job, or even if it isn’t, it’s so important to make sure you’re doing it correctly. The good news is back pain caused by lifting incorrectly is easily solved. Take it easy with some gentle exercise for a few days and make sure you bend your knees and lift from the legs next time.


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If you’re generally stressed out or run down you may not realise but your muscles will be tense, which can be a cause of back pain. The easy fix? Try to be less stressed. Not so easy? We know. Why not try some breathing exercises, take a long bath, schedule me-time into your day or week, or even take up a new hobby you can really immerse yourself in.

Slipped disc

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This one sounds painful. And it is. A slipped disc is when the fluid filled discs which protect your vertebrae from rubbing against each other has misshaped and become slightly squashed. The solution to this one is to see a doctor or physio. If only you knew a good physio…


The sciatic nerve goes all the way down your back and into your feet. Unfortunately, this means there are many ways it can be strained and many ways you could feel the pain, and sciatica is a common back pain cause. Numbness, tingling and weakness in your back, bum, legs and feet are all symptoms.

Ankylosing spondylitis

It sounds complicated, and it is. Ankylosing spondylitis is the swelling of the joints in your spine. It can be pretty painful, and you can spot it because you’ll feel the pain and stiffness more in the morning, and it should calm down as you go about your day.


Oh good, another long word. Luckily, we’re here to explain. Spondylolisthesis is when a bone in your spine has slipped out of position. You should watch out for stiffness, numbness and tingling with this one.

Broken bone

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This simply means that a bone has broken in your spine and is causing an understandably large amount of pain in your back. Backs are generally very strong and this is unlikely to be your problem, but see a doctor if you think it is.


This one’s very rare, so it’s unlikely this is the cause of your back pain. Like every part of our bodies, the back can become infected. Symptoms include numbness and a fever. If you think you may have an infection, talk to your GP and they’ll check the symptoms.


Some types of cancer can cause back pain. It’s a very rare reason for back pain and not one to worry about until you have evidence. If you’re worried, speak to your GP.

Cauda equina syndrome

Another very rare cause of back pain is cauda equina syndrome. It’s where the nerves in your lower back become compressed and it can be extremely painful. This is another one to contact your GP about if you’re worried.

The cause of your back pain is unlikely to be too serious, and you can often treat it at home. If you’re worried or if the pain has persisted for a while, we recommend contacting a physio or your GP.

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