Within the past few years, back pain in young adults from the ages of 20-35 has grown exponentially. Most commonly, the back pain occurs in the lower back and can keep adults from enjoying life to the fullest. If you or someone you know is a young adult with back pain, they should contact their doctor or physical therapist.
Back pain comes in a variety of different types and through a variety of levels of pain. The three most common conditions that cause back pain in young adults are lumbar disc herniation, degenerative disc disease, and isthmic spondylolisthesis.
Lumbar disc herniation
Herniated discs occur when the disc in the spin degenerates. Ninety percent of herniated discs happen in the bottom of the spine. It can cause weakness and numbness from the top of the buttock to the top of the big toe. Lumbar disc herniation may cause a loss of ankle reflex and weakness in the ankle. Some adults with lumbar disc herniation lose the ability to raise their toes. Many times, the herniated disc will heal on its own in approximately six to eight weeks. If it does not heal on its own, nonsurgical treatments include: physical therapy, osteopathic manipulations, non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs, oral steroids, or a cortisone injection. If the herniated disc still continues, surgery is available to remove the portion of the disc and take the pressure off the nerve root.
Degenerative disc disease
When a disc in the spine compromises, it causes degenerative disc disease. It usually occurs from a twisting or torsional injury to the lower back. As the most common lower back disease, at least thirty percent of people aged thirty to fifty will experience some degree of degenerative disc disease. Symptoms for degenerative disc disease vary; however, most common symptoms include: pain from the lower back that radiates to the hips and legs, trouble standing or walking, pain that increases when bending or lifting, and inflammation. Magnetic Resonance Imaging scans can help to detect degenerative disc disease. Patients can work with their doctor to find a solution to the pain.
Isthmic spondylolisthesis occurs when one vertebral body slips forward on the one below it. This movement causes a small fracture in a piece of the bone that connects the two joints on the back side of the spine. It is most commonly caused by stress on the bone. The injury usually occurs when the individual is a child, around the age of five to eight, but does not spike pain until they develop into adulthood. Since the injury occurs at a young age, it is difficult to specifically identify the cause and reason for isthmic spondylolisthesis. Depending on the intensity and duration of the pain, doctors will recommend surgical or non-surgical options for treatment.
PhysioDC of Washington, D.C. helps patients recover, strengthen, and return to healthy living after they travel or on a day-to-day lifestyle. Located in downtown Washington, D.C., PhysioDC is an excellent resource to contact for all joint and body pain. For more information on physical therapy for your body, visit PhysioDC at www.physiodc.com.
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