Back Pain Increasing in Teens and Young Adults

Back pain from Backpack

Many teens and young adults are forced to deal with back pain due to backpacks that weigh too much.


A United Kingdom charity named BackCare says immobility is the darker side of modern life and the lack of regular physical exercise is creating a cultural epidemic of inactivity. As a result the number of individuals in their 20s and 30s who experience temporary or chronic back pain is rising. The British Chiropractic Association (BCA) has also reported “younger and younger” adults with chronic back problems.

Medical experts believe that even young people who exercise regularly may end up suffering back pain if they are don’t move for long periods of time at work or school. More than a third of individuals between the ages of 16 and 24 say sitting still for long periods triggers neck or back pain, while 30 percent those 25 to 34 years-old agreed. A BCA survey of 2400 people also found half of respondents 18 to 34 regularly suffer back pain.

Adam al–Kashi, head of research and education at BackCare, described the modern lifestyle as dangerously convenient. While acknowledging all the benefits technology has made to civilization, especially among western cultures, al–Kashi says the downside is how much it promotes a sedentary lifestyle so that people have to find artificial ways to exert themselves enough to stay healthy.

The researcher also notes that the high pressure environment of universities where maintaining a grade point average is essential create stress that can manifest itself as back pain. A BCA study conducted in 2008 found that 45 percent of children have suffered back pain by the time they are 11. Sitting still in a classroom for most of the day or sitting watching TV for hours on end is taking a toll on young people’s bodies.

Also, pediatricians are reporting that a new type of injury is becoming more common in school-age children and teens: back strain caused by carrying backpacks that are too heavy. Some packs can weigh up to 40 percent of the child’s own body weight, which would be like a 150-pound adult carrying a 30- to 60-pound backpack. The weight carried around by school kids five days a week can create a great deal of strain on the child’s spine that can cause back pain.

One way to mitigate the modern reality of school-age children developing back pain is to make chiropractic visits part of an overall family wellness program. Look for a practice that either offers or specializes in pediatric chiropractic services to help keep your children’s backs strong, healthy, and pain-free.

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