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low back pain adults

Low Back Pain in Young Adults

by Tanner Neuberger, PT, DPT, TDN Level 1Leave a Comment

Low back pain is one of the most common ailments treated in outpatient physical therapy clinics today. Back pain can be debilitating and negatively affect quality of life to a large degree, and as a younger individual, it is something that is not often thought of as a potential injury. Yet, low back pain is fairly common in the younger population; up to 10-25% of the population in their late teens to early 40s report back pain. In this age group, low back is commonly described in the research as “non-specific back pain,” meaning back pain does not have a known cause or correlation to MRI or X-Ray imaging. Most acute, non-specific back pain usually resolves on its own within 6 weeks and with appropriate rest, good nutrition, light activity and a positive outlook, you can help manage the severity of your pain.

The Cause of Back Pain

When structural damage is not the cause, we need to address what underlying factors could be contributing to the development of back pain. Oftentimes, there are daily habits that could be leading to an overload of stress to the lumbar spine region. Consider these questions to determine the potential cause of back pain:

  • What type of work do you do? Are you constantly bending or lifting objects?
  • How strenuous is your exercise routine?
  • What are your sleep habits like?
  • What are your nutrition habits like?
  • What are your movement habits like? Are you sitting or standing for prolonged periods?

All of these are great questions to ask yourself to help identify ways you can alter your daily habits to decrease the potential stress placed on your back. This could be as simple as putting your foot up on a stool when you are standing for a long time in one position, or keeping objects closer to you when you are lifting them. The body in general, likes movement! In fact, inactivity can increase back pain as the back becomes stiff, weak and deconditioned without movement.

Treating Your Back Pain

While low back pain is nothing fun to have, there are plenty of ways to treat this common ailment. As a society, there are often negative connotations associated with back pain and that activities like crunches or sit-ups will hurt your back. It is often thought that the spine is fragile, as psychosocial factors come into play more than a person thinks when they’re in pain. Stress, whether physical or mental, can lead to pain and injury if not managed appropriately. Appropriate rest, good nutrition, light to moderate activity and a positive outlook can be helpful when treating back pain on your own.

Exercise can also support reducing your lower back pain. It’s important to consult with your physician before beginning any exercise program. One effective exercise to perform when you have back pain is to go for daily walks to keep up your activity level. Other good exercises include planks, push-ups, squats, crunches and glute bridges – really anything to keep you moving! Of course, you have to determine which exercises are right for you, as you want them to be as pain-free as possible.

If you are struggling with getting your pain to cease, contact your local Athletico Physical Therapy and schedule a free assessment so our experts can take a look at your pain and provide recommendations for treatment. Assessments are available in-clinic and virtually through our telehealth platform.

Request a Free Assessment

Physical therapy is usually the thing you are told to do after medication, x-rays or surgery. The best way to fix your pain is to start where you normally finish – with physical therapy at Athletico. Schedule a free assessment in-clinic or virtually through a secure online video chat where our team can assess your pain and provide recommended treatment options.

The Athletico blog is an educational resource written by Athletico employees. Athletico bloggers are licensed professionals who abide by the code of ethics outlined by their respective professional associations. The content published in blog posts represents the opinion of the individual author based on their expertise and experience. The content provided in this blog is for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice and should not be relied on for making personal health decisions.

1. Taguchi T. Low back pain in young and middle-aged people. Published 2003. Accessed August 3, 2020.
2. Brinjikji W, Luetmer PH, Comstock B, et al. Systematic literature review of imaging features of spinal degeneration in asymptomatic populations. AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. 2015;36(4):811-816. doi:10.3174/ajnr.A4173

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