Too Young for Back Pain?

If you’re one of the growing number of people who’s under 50 and experiencing back pain, you may feel like you’re limited in what you can find about the unique issues you may face. Chronic back pain is associated with aging, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t happen to younger people. If you’re experiencing something as real and debilitating as chronic back pain and all you can find is information about pain treatment in older populations, it can really feel isolating or even embarrassing. It also may not be helpful to get treatment advice that is more appropriate for someone who is much older.

Though many attribute rising rates of back pain complaints to the aging of the baby boomer generation, there are other reasons why back problems could be more common that have nothing to do with age. Increased rates of childhood obesity, lack of exercise, and a more sedentary lifestyle are all potential factors that could lead to developing back problems at a younger age. While doctors like Solomon Kamson MD, PhD of the Spine Institute Northwest are likely to mainly see older patients, the number of younger people reporting back pain is on the rise.

Back pain can’t be said to really be a positive development, but there are advantages that younger sufferers have. Making the effort to change your lifestyle, with more exercise and a nutritious diet, can not only help relieve your pain now but will also benefit your overall health as you age. Younger bodies also tend to heal more quickly than older people, although advances in back pain treatments — like minimally invasive spine surgery and regenerative medicine — mean that older back pain sufferers also have a better chance at a relatively speedy recover.

Back pain can be result from the wear-and-tear of behaviors like sitting for long hours at a desk or carrying a heavy backpack, making it hardly out of the realm of possibility for a young person. That said, you should be careful to make sure you aren’t ignoring signs of potentially more serious medical problems that can affect the back. Part of the reason that back health information tends to be targeted at older people is that older people are more likely to develop more serious issues like vertebral compression fractures or degenerative disc problems. But just because these things don’t apply to you, it doesn’t mean you should ignore signs of a more serious health problem! If you feel you are only finding information targeted at older people, make sure you are finding ways to read between the lines to get all the info that could still be relevant for you.