Back Pain in Young Adults: What is Normal?

Back pain is one of the most common health complaints among adults, but what about when it affects young adults? Back pain can be caused by a variety of things, from poor posture to lifting heavy objects. In some cases, back pain may be a sign that something more serious is going on. In this blog post, we will discuss the most common causes of back pain in young adults and when you should see a doctor about your symptoms.

Common Causes of Back Pain in Young Adults

Back Muscle Strain

Muscle strain in the back can be the result of poor posture, a sudden twisting, or lifting heavy objects. It occurs when the muscles and/or ligaments in the back get over stretched or microscopically torn. This is one of the most common causes of back pain in young adults. If your pain is due to muscle strain, it is likely that it will go away on its own with some rest and home care.

young woman struggling with large backpack

Degenerative Disc Disease

Degenerative disc disease is a condition that occurs when the discs in your spine begin to break down. This can happen in adults as young as 20. Symptoms of degenerative disc disease include:

  • Stiffness and/or pain in the back or neck
  • Pain that gets worse with movement
  • Radiating pain in the arms or legs
  • Numbness or tingling in the extremities

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to see a doctor right away. Degenerative disc disease can cause serious problems if it is left untreated. However it can usually be successfully treated once diagnosed. 

Herniated Disc

A herniated disc occurs when the soft center of a spinal disc bulges out through a crack in the tougher outer layer. This can happen due to injury, aging, or repetitive motion. Symptoms of a herniated disc include:

  • Sharp, shooting pain
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Weakness

If you think you may have a herniated disc, it is important to see a doctor right away. A herniated disc can be very painful and may require surgery to correct.

Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis

Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis is a condition that causes the spine to curve to the side. It usually develops in early adolescence and affects girls more often than boys. Symptoms of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis include:

  • Uneven shoulders
  • One shoulder blade that sticks out more than the other
  • One hip that is higher than the other

If you think you or your child may have adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, it is important to see a doctor right away. While there is no cure for this condition, it can be successfully managed with treatment.

When to See a Doctor

If you are experiencing back pain, it is important to see a doctor if:

  • The pain is severe
  • The pain lasts for more than a week
  • You have other symptoms like fever or numbness
  • Your pain gets worse with movement
  • You have difficulty urinating or having a bowel movement
  • You lose control of your bladder or bowels

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to see a doctor right away. These could be signs of a more serious condition that requires treatment.

In Conclusion

There are many other causes of back pain, but these are the most common in young adults. As we mentioned before, most back pain is nothing to worry about and will go away on its own with some rest and home care. However, if your pain is severe, lasts for more than a week, or is accompanied by other symptoms, it is important to see a doctor right away.

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