Article Abstract

Evaluation and management of lower back pain in young athletes

Authors: Dilip R. Patel, Elizabeth Kinsella


Lower back pain in young athletes is a common problem. The prevalence of back pain from different causes in adolescent age group is between 20% and 30%. However, the incidence of low back pain in young athletes varies widely in different sports. Overuse injuries are the most common cause of low back pain in young athletes. In case of overuse injuries, the cause and effect relationship between back pain and specific condition is often difficult to establish. In adolescent athletes, the most common underlying identified cause of low back pain is lumbar spondylolysis. During adolescent growth spurt, the severity of the pain generally correlates with adolescent growth spurt. Participation in sports starting at an early age and for a longer duration tends to increase the risk for back pain. Numerous conditions cause low back pain in athletes. These include acute trauma, chronic overuse or repetitive trauma, and referred pain. Our focus in here will be on selected conditions that cause recurrent or chronic low back pain.