Backache is a type of pain which occurs in many people. Namely 80% of the Belgian population at some point in their lives suffer from backache. In 50% of these people, backache is an issue which regularly occurs or which is chronic.

Experiencing backache is usually not the consequence of a medical illness, nor of damage of the back. In some of the cases it is so that a medical cause can be found for backache, but for most this is not the case.

The symptoms of backache?

There are different types of backache. Most people experience a backache in the lower parts of the back. Here, the issue usually is found in muscles, intervertebral discs, or joints, which no longer work the way they are supposed to. What the actual cause is of this lower backache , however, is difficult to determine. Backache can namely come up at any time. There also are cases where backache gradually gets worse. If you were to describe the feeling, it generally is an intense or nagging pain. The pain can be so intense that it can even be felt in the ribs or the buttocks. Sometimes, backache can even be felt in the legs. Many people believe that it is not good to move in case of backache , while staying in the same position for a long time can actually cause pain. When it comes to this, we think of the following situations:

  • Sitting still for a long time
  • Standing still for a long time
  • Getting up

Moving can, however, cause pain, but it is generally good for the muscles. In most cases, the backache disappears after a short period, and there is no permanent damage bound to the backache. In some cases, however, back aches can take more time. If the backache lasts for more than 6-12 weeks, we consider it to be a chronic backache.

What are the causes of backache?

It is often very difficult to map out the cause of the backache. Backache can namely have a different cause for different people. Furthermore, there often is no clear cause to be recognized. This is the case for 9 out of 10 people with backache. It is useful to consider both the medical as well as the psychological causes of backache when looking for causes of backache.

In most cases, short-term back aches are caused by the following factors:

  1. A large physical exertion
  2. An injury
  3. A wrong move

We consider something to be a non-specific backache if the doctor cannot find a specific cause for your backache. There are, however, different causes for a specific backache which are known. These can be both medical and psychological factors. Below, we sum up the most important causes.

Medical causes of backache?

  • Poor condition
  • Poor posture when sitting
  • Poor lifting technique
  • Poor posture when, for example, walking
  • Muscular tension
  • Over-exertion of the muscles, nerves, joints, or intervertebral discs
  • Infection in the back
  • Over-exertion of the back because of too frequent car driving
  • Too weak muscles in the back and stomach

Psychological causes of backache?

Psychological factors can frequently cause backache. Keeping emotions inside or going through a difficult time can trigger backache. Furthermore, medical and psychological factors can work together and cause the backache. Therefore, it is useful to also map out psychological causes of backache.

Below you find a list of several psychological causes of backache:

  • Stress
  • Divorce
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Overwhelming feeling of hopelessness
  • End of a relationship

Treating and dealing with backache?

It is useful to first off know your personal causes for backache before starting off a treatment for backache. This way you know that the treatment which you chose will work on the factors which cause your backache. When it comes to treating medical causes, you can be helped by a doctor or specialist. When it comes to the treatment of psychological causes of backache you are welcome at a therapist or at our self-help program. The program by "" was developed by doctors and psychologists to daily support people in treating psychological causes of backache Furthermore, the program helps to strengthen your body and increase your pain tolerance. Because you improve your resistance to the pain, you can namely learn to deal differently with the pain, through which you can then further build up your pain tolerance.


Moreover, it is useful to research all types of causes of backache, both the medical ones and the psychological ones. They can namely influence each other. Following therapy can thus even help in treatment of medical causes.

Backache test?

Would you like to know what causes backache for you? Then take the free stress induced pain test here and discover what possible next steps you can take.