ZocdocAnswersBesides arthritis or injury, what could be causing my back pain or joint pain?

Question

Besides arthritis or injury, what could be causing my back pain or joint pain?

I'm an 18 year old female attending a university. I've had this problem since high school, i used to play basketball and volleyball, during my senior year i would get serious back pains and i didn't know why, at first i thought it was because i played a sport and it was common in athletes but it began to get worse, now i get the back pains constantly.

Answer

If you have had this back pain going on for all this time, then it is definitely time to get it checked out by your primary care doctor. Arthritis of the back would be unusual in someone your age, but back injury definitely can occur, especially if there is an obvious mechanism like an injury during a sporting event. Your primary care doctor will perform a physical examination to make sure there are no obvious signs of bony injury or nerve compression problems. You should also mention any red flag symptoms to your doctor, which would include: problems with bowel or bladder control, numbness or tingling in the thighs or legs, or feeling weak or uncoordinated in the legs. These symptoms raise the possibility that the back pain is associated with a more serious injury. If your doctor does not find anything concerning, then they will probably recommend conservative treatment, which means rest and cautious use of antiinflammatory medications like ibuprofen. Additionally they may recommend back stretches and back strengthening exercises which can be extremely effective if they are performed regularly. You can also find descriptions of these exercises on many reputable patient education sites on the internet.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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