As a teenage athlete, you might assume that back pain is a problem reserved for older adults. However, the reality is that lower back pain is a common issue among young athletes, with a prevalence ranging from 20% to 30%(1). In this blog post, we'll delve into the most common underlying cause of back pain in teenage athletes and shed light on effective treatment options.
The Common Culprit: Lumbar Spondylolysis Let's familiarise ourselves with a term: lumbar spondylolysis. This condition refers to a type of stress fracture that occurs in a thin piece of bone called the pars interarticularis, which connects the upper and lower segments of a vertebra. Despite sounding alarming, lumbar spondylolysis is actually quite common, with almost 50% of sport-related lower back pain in adolescents being linked to this condition (1).
Repetitive Strain and Overuse Triggers for lumbar spondylolysis often develops due to repetitive strain or overuse of the lower back, particularly in activities involving frequent bending, twisting, or hyperextension of the spine. Sports such as soccer, cricket, and weightlifting can place repetitive and excessive load on the vertebrae, leading to stress fractures. Interestingly, some athletes with spondylolysis may not experience any symptoms, while others may have insidious, recurrent pain associated with specific activities.
Identifying Symptoms and Associated Factors When examining young athletes with spondylolysis, certain indicators can be observed. These may include decreased flexibility in the hamstrings and lower back muscles, abdominal wall weakness, and increased curvature of the lumbar spine. However, it's important to note that every case is unique, and a proper diagnosis is crucial for developing an effective treatment plan.
Effective Treatment Options at Balanced for Life At Balanced for Life, our priority is helping teenage athletes return to the sports they love while preventing the recurrence of pain. Our experienced team employs a comprehensive approach to manage and treat lumbar spondylolysis. We utilise cutting-edge tools such as the MLS medical laser to reduce pain and inflammation, along with chiropractic techniques that optimise joint and muscle function. Additionally, our tailored rehabilitation exercises focus on retraining core and trunk stability, complemented by sport-specific exercises to ensure athletes regain full confidence in their performance.
Take Control of Your Back Pain If you're a teenager struggling with back pain, don't accept it as an unavoidable part of your life. Ignoring the issue can potentially lead to worsening symptoms over time. Instead, take the first step towards relief by booking an appointment with one of our skilled chiropractors. Our experts will assess the cause of your pain and develop a personalised plan to help you get back on the field, pain-free and stronger than ever. Here at Balanced for Life, we believe that moving better matters, especially for young athletes seeking optimal performance and pain-free participation in sports. Don't let back pain hinder your potential. Together, let's prioritise your well-being and ensure you're back in the game, stronger and pain-free.
Patel, D. R., & Kinsella, E. (2017). Evaluation and management of lower back pain in young athletes. Translational pediatrics, 6(3), 225–235. https://doi.org/10.21037/tp.2017.06.01