Can what I do at work affect my chances of having low back pain?

Available science isn't clear about conclusions that job tasks, even heavy types of work, cause pain.  Actually, activities like heavy lifting and prolonged sitting may be connected because back pain may simply be aggravated in people who do these activities. Low back pain may have more of an affect on people who have to do a lot of lifting. This is because they more commonly stay off work or require a longer period before getting back on the job.

Jobs that involve whole-body vibrations (such as heavy equipment operation) seem to pose some added risk for low back pain.

Good physical conditioning, weight management, routine stretching, and using safe body movements can reduce the chances of having back problems, as can avoiding injuries and not smoking. People with one back injury are more likely to have another. And people who smoke run a higher risk of having back problems.