It might be a slight twinge when you grab something off the shelf. It could be a dull ache that’s lasted for days. There are different kinds of back pain and plenty of possible culprits. But what caused your back pain and how can you treat it? Let’s explore some of the facts and myths behind back pain.

1. Back Injuries

Fact. There are certain types of injuries that can cause back pain but your injury might exacerbate an underlying issue. For example, slip and falls might cause temporary pain but lingering discomfort might suggest a more serious issue. The same is true of lifting heavy objects. Disc degeneration or a bulging disc may not be apparent right away and can take time to manifest. A small ache or twinge in your back might not be a sprain, but a sign of a herniated disc. New injuries can also make one of these conditions worse. A hard fall could further damage a herniated disc, requiring surgery. Try an online pain management tool to see if the pain you’re experiencing is normal or the sign of a more serious condition.

2. Exercise

Myth, but poor form when exercising could lead to back pain. Your back pain may really be a muscle or ligament issue rather than a true back problem. Not stretching before exercise raises the likelihood of a pulled muscle or tendinitis, especially if you engage in strenuous activity. However, injuries at the gym are common and poor form when using free weights can easily lead to back pain. Sometimes pushing yourself too hard can do more harm than good.

3. Posture

Fact. Poor posture is a major contributor to back or neck pain. Slouching your shoulders places greater strain on your spine. That issue is easy to solve: throw your shoulders back! Another factor behind poor posture is that many activities require sitting. In school or at work, you spend most of your day in a chair. Whether you’re squinting at a screen or using a chair that’s not ergonomically aligned to your body, your bad posture is hurting your back. Try getting up periodically and walking around. If your office allows, try a standing desk. Standing at least gives you the chance to work your lower back muscles.

So how can you keep your back pain in check? Think about your posture, make sure to stretch before exercising, and understand that injuries might aggravate an underlying condition. With a few adjustments, you can put back pain on the back burner.