I've heard that stress can increase the risk of developing back problems. What kind of stress puts people at risk?

Several different kinds of stress have been linked to low back pain. All of these can be experienced as mild, moderate, or severe.

Occupational physical stress includes exposure to vibration through driving or using machines, lifting or carrying heavy objects, and bending forward or twisting. Occupational mental stress includes monotonous work (doing the same thing over and over), time pressure, and fear of failure. Environmental stress includes noise and the presence of heat, vapors, dust, or other toxic agents.

Stress can also come from work schedule (shift work, night shifts, piecework), work pace, and the way in which work tasks are done. All of these things can impact back injury and pain. Additionally, when work negatively influences private life (family, recreation, social events), back problems tends to increase.