The topic of teen back pain brings to mind many bad memories for me personally, since I first suffered with severe acute lower back pain at the age of 16. I did not do anything to hurt my back that I can recall, yet the pain was unbelievable and started me on a long journey into the back pain treatment industry, which has lasted my entire adult life. In fact, my experience with back ache has shaped my life journey more than any other single factor.
As I have researched and written this site, I realize that back pain in teenagers is actually a very big and widespread problem, so I decided it was time for a dedicated article on the subject.
Teens are very active, often involved in sports or other strenuous pastimes. With all this exertion, there is always the possibility for a back injury to occur. This chance is compounded by teens who are involved in contact sports, such as rugby, football, martial arts, wrestling and hockey. It is always a good idea to treat any back pain which results from injury as a serious concern and seek appropriate diagnostic testing from a qualified physician.
There is also a variety of non-physical issues which may bring on back pain symptoms in many teens. The pressures of school and growing up can be overwhelming and may lead to psychological back pain in a great number of young people. This is exactly the type of pain which affected me, although it took me many years to realize this and overcome the misdiagnosis which was perpetrated against me by many doctors. Additionally, the adult personality traits begin to really demonstrate themselves in the teen years, leading many youths to realize they may just be cursed with a back pain prone personality.
Teens are less likely to seek medical care for many health issues than younger children, since many are beginning to exercise less dependence on their parents and a exert a sense of self-sufficiency. While this is great in some aspects of life, it can cause big problems for teens who are stubborn about asking mom or dad to take them to a back doctor for pain. Always remember to keep the lines of communication open with your teen and be sure that they can confide in you with any problematic health issue they may have.
Teenage back pain is often blamed on structural issues, much in the same manner as adult back pain. In some cases, these diagnostic theories may be correct, but in other instances, the speculation is unfounded, since a young spine is usually strong and healthy, despite imaging evidence of such common scapegoat conditions like degenerative disc disease or bulging discs.
If you are a teen reading this page to find more information about symptoms you have been having, then you may want to consider truly taking a step towards adulthood and getting involved in your own care early on. This was a huge mistake that I made, since I trusted everything I was told unconditionally as a 16 year old patient and this trust led me down multiple wrong paths to treatment.
Instead, research your diagnosis and understand exactly what is going on to actually cause your pain. Most of all, understand the clinical expectations of the diagnosis and try to match these up to your actual symptoms. If they do not match, then you may have found the reason why the pain has not ended despite active treatment. In many cases, the diagnosis is incorrect and no therapy will cure pain if it is directed at the wrong source of symptoms. I hope that with some time and effort, your back pain will be short-lived and you do not repeat the mistakes of previous generations.
If you are a parent, just follow the same advice. Your child is too young to be faced with such troubles at a tender age. You must do everything possible to get them back to good health ASAP to prevent the common psychoemotional issues which inevitably follow protracted periods of acute or chronic pain.