BACK PAIN IN YOUTH
Back pain is not as common in youth as in adults, as they are much more resilient and flexible than adults. However, in the mid twenties and early thirties, it is possible to experience back pain. This can be very painful and can affect the quality of life.
Causes For Back Pain:
- Back muscle strain: This is one of the most common causes for back pain in young adults. Lifting heavy objects, twisting, excessive exercising, and sudden movements can cause back strain. The muscles and ligaments stretch or develop small tears causing pain.
- Paravertebral muscle spasm: Sitting or standing for prolonged periods, poor posture, sleeping on a hard mattress, obesity, stress, etc. can cause paravertebral muscle spasm. The paravertebral muscles are the muscles that support the lumbar vertebral segment.
- Herniated disc: The vertebrae in the back have small, spongy discs in between them that act as shock absorbers and maintain spine flexibility. These discs can get damaged and can bulge or leak. This condition is called herniated disc. The pressing of the herniated disc on the nerves can cause pain, numbness, and weakness.
- Degenerative disc disease: When there is breakdown of the discs between the vertebrae, the damaged disc tend to cause inflammation and also instability in the back due to which you experience radiating pain, muscle spasm, and sciatica.
- Sacroiliac joint disease: The joints that connect the sacrum to the hip on each side called sacroiliac joints can have too little or too much movement. This is called sacroiliac joint disease or dysfunction.
- Isthmic spondylolisthesis: This is a lumbar spine condition in which one vertebral body slips forward on top of the vertebral body below it due to fracture of the isthmus (small, thin segment of the bone that connects the facet joints).
Back pain is typically caused due to the above-mentioned causes. However, one should understand that young adults can also be affected by arthritis and other conditions that are typical to older people as well.
Symptoms Of Back Pain:
- Severe pain in the back that occurs after heavy lifting, activity, sudden movement, etc. caused by back muscle strain.
- Sciatica (radiating pain from the back to the buttock, leg, and foot) due to herniated disc.
- Back pain worsened by certain positions and movements caused by degenerative disc disease.
- Debilitating pain in the back worsened by standing or walking due to isthmic spondylolisthesis.
- Back pain along with groin and buttock pain due to sacroiliac joint disease.
Treatment Of Back Pain:
Most of the symptoms tend to resolve with rest and careful monitoring of symptoms, as most of the back pain in youth is related to soft tissue (muscles, tendons, and ligaments) damage caused by overuse or strain.
Restriction in activity is also not recommended unless it causes pain. Also, a balanced exercise program tends to help with back pain in youth. This is because exercise helps in strengthening the core muscles in the abdomen and back and enhances circulation, which helps in overall spine health.
Surgery is considered for back pain in youth very rarely if the pain is really severe to the extent that there is difficulty functioning.