HealthDay News — Being distracted during an activity, manual labor involving awkward positions, and fatigue have been identified as significant risk factors for low back pain, according to research published in Arthritis Care & Research.

To investigate a range of transient risk factors for an episode of sudden onset, acute low back pain, Manuela Ferreira, PhD, of The George Institute for Global Health and Sydney Medical School at The University of Sydney in New South Wales, conducted a case-crosscover study involving 999 patients who reported a new episode of acute low back pain. Each of the participants was asked to report exposure to 12 recognized triggers over the 96 hours proceeding the onset of back pain.

Manual labor that involved awkward positions increased the risk of low back pain eight-fold, according to the scientists. Other significant risk factors included fatigue and being distracted during an activity. The risk of back pain was highest between 7 a.m. and noon.

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“Understanding which modifiable risk factors lead to low back pain is an important step toward controlling a condition that affects so many worldwide,” concluded Ferreira.

“Our findings enhance knowledge of low back pain triggers and will assist the development of new prevention programs that can reduce suffering from this potentially disabling condition.”


  1. Ferreira M et al. Arthritis Care & Research. 2015; doi: 10.1002/acr.22533