Back Strains, Sprains Often Associated with Distraction, Fatigue

Alcohol and sex did not trigger back pain flares in this study.

Sudden attacks of back pain are often associated with distraction and fatigue, Australian researchers noted in a study published online recently.

Study leader Manuela Ferreira, PhD, of the George Institute for Global Health and Sydney Medical School, The University of Sydney, and other researchers looked at 999 patients aged 18 years or older in New South Wales. They set out to describe the most common back pain triggers and transient risk factors. 

Back pain triggers included (ranked from most risky down):

  1. Distraction during a task
  2. Manual tasks involving awkward postures
  3. Manual tasks involving objects not close to the body
  4. Manual tasks involving people or animals
  5. Manual tasks involving unstable or unbalanced objects
  6. Manual tasks involving heavy loads
  7. Moderate or vigorous physical activity
  8. Fatigue/tiredness

The study also noted some activities that were not found to trigger back pain including alcohol consumption and sex. 

The researchers noted in a press release that spinal discs often swell with fluid overnight, potentially leaving people more susceptible to stresses when loaded.

The study was published in Arthritis Care & Research.


1. Steffens D. Arthr Care Res. 2015; DOI: 10.1002/acr.22533