When you develop problems in your lower back, this can extend to your legs and hips so protecting your back is important. More and more people are experiencing back pain but it is normally manageable and can improve within a few weeks or months.

Many people find they suffer from back pain in the workplace through sitting at a desk for long periods of time, heaving lifting or driving but there are many things that could be done to help prevent injury or pain.

Main causes of back pain

1. Herniated disc
This can occur anywhere along the spine but most often occurs in the lower back. It is sometimes called a bulging disc. A herniated disc occurs when an intervertebral disc which serves as a cushion between the vertebrae compresses a spinal nerve.

2. Muscular imbalance
An imbalance in strength or length of opposing muscle groups can pull the body out of alignment causing poor posture which can result in back pain.

3. Wear and tear (arthritis or degenerative disease)
Wear and tear can affect the joints between the vertebrae as well as the moveable joints at the back of the spine.

4. Strained muscles
Muscles are strained by overloading. A sudden or unexpected movement usually causes this. Muscles are more easily strained if fitness levels are poor or tired.

5. Strained ligaments
Ligaments can be injured when a joint is stretched to its limits and held there too long.

How to prevent back pain

1. Exercise
One of the most important things you can do for back pain prevention is to get up and get moving.

2. Lifting
Assess the task, area and load. Bend your knees, back straight, lift through the legs.

3. Flexibility
Exercises for hamstrings, erector spinae and iliopsoas.

4. Healthy diet
If you maintain good eating habits you not only maintain a healthy weight but you also will also avoid putting unnecessary stress on your muscles and joints.

5. Maintain proper posture
Sitting at the computer all day, maintain the 90-90-90 rule - 90° at hips, knees and ankles.

Always contact your GP if you have recurring back pain, and before starting a new exercise programme. 

Kieran Keenan is an advanced personal trainer and the owner of Fitsquad.