We talk a lot about degenerative spinal conditions that occur after years of physical activity, but one group of people whose back pain often gets overlooked is teens and young adults. People assume that teens and young adults are in the healthiest shape of their lives, but oftentimes that’s not true. Your spine is still growing throughout your teenage years, and teens are also balancing a myriad of other activities like sports, school and a job, which can all put excess stress on their spines. Today, we look at a couple common causes of teen spine pain, and we share three tips for preventing injuries.
Avoiding Teen Spine Pain
Here are three thoughts to keep in mind if you want to help keep back pain at bay throughout your teenage years.
1. iPosture Avoidance – Teens these days are plugged in to the digital world more than ever, and that can wreak havoc on your spine if you’re not careful. We already talked about the dangers of “text neck” in this blog, and while some might say teens need to put the phones and tablets away, we’re just asking that you mind your posture while you’re using these devices. Try to avoid putting your phone in your lap, as you’ll naturally lean your neck forward, and the weight of your head will put a lot of stress on your cervical spine. Instead, position your device out in front of you a little ways so you’re keeping your spine in alignment.
2. Activity – A new report suggests that the average teen spends 5-7 hours a day in a sedentary position, and that’s not including time spent at school. Teens spend a lot of time in front of screens, be it a television, computer or cell phone. It’s fine to relax and take in some TV or to mindlessly surf the web for a bit, but also be sure to make time for regular exercise. Exercise strengthens the structures that support the spinal column, and it can make you less likely to aggravate muscle groups during activity.
3. Backpack Blues – Ill-fitting backpacks are one of the leading causes of back pain among school-aged children and teens. As kids get older, they are often asked to carry heavy books to and from school on a daily basis, and if their backpack sits low on their spine, or they hunch forward to support the heavy bag, it can lead to a world of hurt. Ensure your teen is using both straps to carry their bag, and make sure the straps are tight enough such that the bottom of the backpack doesn’t ride below their waist.
If you’re spine is hurting even after following these three tips, set up a consultation with a licensed spinal specialist. We’ll be able to get to the root of your pain and set you up with solutions to get you back to full health. For more information, contact us at (651) 430-3800.