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As a teen, what could be causing my back pain?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine

You might not think it, but back pain is actually common in adolescents. There are different causes of back pain, but a muscle spasm--which can leave you gasping for breath or be a dull ache that won’t let up--is the most common kind. In a spasm, the paraspinal muscles around your backbone can tense up. Poor posture can be one of the culprits. To remedy this, whenever possible, suck in your stomach and butt muscles at the same time. You need abdominal muscle strength to protect your back. This tends to straighten your spine--and, as a bonus, can help you build that washboard stomach. Other causes of back pain include switching from high-heeled to low-heeled shoes or vice versa, wearing shoes that don’t fit, doing lots of heavy lifting, sleeping on a bad mattress or bed, and being overweight, for the simple reason that it’s harder on your spine to carry around more weight.

YOU: The Owner's Manual for Teens: A Guide to a Healthy Body and Happy Life

More About this Book

YOU: The Owner's Manual for Teens: A Guide to a Healthy Body and Happy Life

A few years ago, we wrote YOU: The Owner’s Manual, which taught people about the inner workings of their bodies—and how to keep them running strong. But you know what? There’s a big difference...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.