While sitting too long can contribute to back pain, it isn’t the only reason you might feel that dull ache or sharp pain in your lower back. If you’re trying to figure out how to treat your lower back pain, start by considering these six signs that suggest your back problem isn’t just from sitting too long. ###

1) Location

Your lower back is more susceptible to injury than other parts of your body because of its lack of mobility and small size. Injury can occur if you have tight hip flexors, which move your legs toward your midline. (It's common for people who spend a lot of time sitting in front of a computer to have tight hip flexors.) Tightness in these muscles causes them to pull too far forward, making it hard for your pelvis to sit correctly on top of your thighs.

2) Duration

The duration of your back pain is an important factor in diagnosing its source. Short-term pain that goes away after a couple of days does generally not cause concern; more prolonged back pain, however, can be symptomatic of a serious health condition. A 2008 study published in Current Pain and Headache Reports found that around 40 per cent of chronic back pain patients have experienced symptoms for over three months—and another 30 per cent go on to experience symptoms for even longer periods.

3) Severity

The intensity of your back pain is an important factor to consider, as it can help determine what underlying issues are causing it. This is especially true if you’re older than 40 or if your back pain is constant rather than intermittent. The longer you’ve been dealing with back pain, the more likely that underlying health issues are involved, such as arthritis or osteoporosis.

4) Quality

Usually, back pain is not an indication of a more profound illness. If you develop unexplained back pain, talk to your doctor first; she or he will be able to judge out cancer and other serious illnesses as causes of your pain. If your doctor finds no other cause for your pain, then it is safe to assume that it is due to sitting too long at work or while performing household chores—or maybe even both!

5) Other Conditions

While low back pain is among the most common sources of pain, it’s important to consider whether other issues may be causing your discomfort. Joint conditions such as arthritis, nerve problems like sciatica, and infections or cancer can also cause you pain. The longer a condition goes without treatment, however, the more severe it tends to become. Take action quickly to reduce pain in your back with help from a physician or physical therapist.

6) Medical History

The pain of back problems often begins after an injury or accident, but sometimes back pain can strike without any cause. For example, if you’re suffering from lumbar degenerative disc disease, you may experience chronic back pain that doesn’t respond to self-care measures or medical treatment. This condition is usually attributed to aging; there is no cure, and most people with lumbar degenerative disc disease experience progressive pain.

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