Experiencing Lower Back Pain

Published: May 14, 2012
Dear TeenHealthFX,
I'm experiencing low back pain, it started when I fell off my horse 5 years ago, but hasn't really effected my life. I was still dancing, going on roller coasters, jogging all the things a young healthy woman should be doing. I was in a car a accident a few months back and it caused more pain in my back. Now I can't do any of those things I used to enjoy without not being able to move the next day. I went dancing a week ago and lost feeling in my toes. I have seen a doctor and had an MRI done a month ago, i have a bulging disk but it was not pushing up against nerves or the spinal cord. I have no idea why I am still in so much pain. I'm also starting to get depressed since even the smallest of tasks are now difficult. please help...
Signed: Experiencing Lower Back Pain

Dear Experiencing Lower Back Pain,


Chronic pain can be very difficult to deal with – and many people do experience depressive episodes in response to the pain and feelings the difficulty in doing everyday tasks. To deal with the pain and what is going on with your back, TeenHealthFX recommends that you discuss the following with your current doctor or any other medical professional specializing in dealing with patients with back pain.


  • If you are concerned about your doctor’s diagnosis of your back problems, how well he/she has educated you about what is going on with your back and what is causing your pain, or how well he/she is directing you in terms of treating the problem with your back or the pain you are experiencing, consider a consultation with another doctor so that you can get a second opinion on the situation.


  • Speak to your doctor about possible methods of dealing with the pain: a consultation at a pain management clinic, using acupuncture, meeting with a massage therapist who specializes in pain management, or doing physical therapy. There are many options and schools of thought nowadays about dealing with pain – so think about what options might be right for you.


  • Very often lower back pain can be alleviated by doing certain stretching exercises each day, or by other strengthening exercises that does not put too much pressure on the back, such as swimming. Speak to a healthcare provider about exercises that would be helpful for you.


  • While this may not be the case for you as you had two specific accidents that affected your back, some doctors believe that mental health issues such as underlying feelings of sadness, stress, or anger can contribute to lower back pain. Speak with your medical provider about whether there is a clear indication of physical injury versus the possibility of emotional issues contributing to the physical pain you are experiencing.


  • If you find you continue to feel depressed in relation to the pain you are experiencing, consider meeting with a therapist to work on coping skills for managing your negative emotions connected to the pain, and/or with a psychiatrist to discuss the possibility of temporarily being on an anti-depressant while you find ways to deal with the pain.

If you don't have a doctor and live in northern New Jersey, you can call the Adolescent/Young Adult Center for Health at 973-971-6475 for an appointment or contact your local teen health center or Planned Parenthood.


If you live in northern New Jersey and need help finding a therapist you can call the Access Center from Atlantic Behavioral Health at 973-247-1400. Outside of this area you can log onto the US Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website for referrals in your area.

Signed: TeenHealthFX