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About 1 in 3 Adolescents Report Back Pain

Update Date: Jan 07, 2016 11:10 AM EST

Almost one adolescent in three adolescents complains of back pain, according to a new study.

However, why does this happen? Scientists have not able to find out, in spite of their advanced and expensive tests, including MRI scans.

"If your history, physical exam or simple tests reveal a diagnosis or problem, this can be treated early and you will probably be able to return to your activities or sport," said lead study author and orthopaedic surgeon Suken A. Shah, MD, division chief at Nemours Spine and Scoliosis Center, Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children. For nearly two-thirds of adolescent patients, clinical physical examination and imaging may not produce clear cause for their back pain. "It could be from a muscle strain, poor posture, too much training in a single sport or multiple sports in the same season, or the opposite--too little activity and not enough exercise."

There are various types of back pain for different teenagers. Some suffer from typically "dull and achy" lower-back pain, which can be treated with relaxation as well as anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen. But if the back pain lasts longer, involving the "abdomen, low back and hips", it may call for physical therapy.

It may be necessary to offer medical attention for the pain that leads to weakness and numbness or that shoots down a leg during sleep, or that deteriorates over days.

What is important for the adolescents is good posture, strong core muscles, flexibility, exercise and avoiding a sedentary lifestyle.

Hence, a list of the main causes of diagnosable back pain, according to sciencedaily include

  • disk herniation and
  • infection
  • spondylisis, or stress fracture(s) in the low back
  • spondylolisthesis, or instability or a forward shift of the lower spine above the tailbone;
  • kyphosis, or poor posture due to slouching, or a rigid hump in the back
  • poor conditioning or overtraining

The study has been published in the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

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