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Disc Degeneration in Children, Young Adults

By Debra Rodzinak

Not very common in children or young adults, disc degeneration is a disorder of the spine that can still develop and impact young people.  Juvenile disc disorder is a very painful spinal issue in the lower back.  Affecting teens, and those up to those in their late 20s, there are several causes of this type of disease.  Genetic predisposition, traumatic injury, and overuse on the spinal joints, tissues, and vertebrae all contribute to the overall pain felt.

Causes of Juvenile Disc Disorder

When the end plates on the vertebrae cannot hold up under the pressure that normal daily activities subject them to, the vertebrae can slip out of place and cause the cartilage to wear away or pinch the root nerves causing back pain.  If the tough cartilage in the disc protrudes to the vertebrae of the spine, the protrusions are called Schmorl’s nodes.  These nodes often are the source of back pain.

There is one major difference between disc degeneration in adults and young adults.  In adults, usually only one or two discs are affected by the wearing away of the disc, but in young adults and children, most of the time, all or most of the lumbar discs are affected.

As with any major medical disorder in a child or young adult, a doctor should always be consulted.  A complete medical evaluation should be completed by a qualified medical practitioner.  Gaining the specific details concerning the pain level and location can be key in developing a correct diagnosis. 

Symptoms of Juvenile Disc Disorder

If pain continues in the neck, back, or the sides of the damaged disc, other symptoms may also be present that allude to Juvenile Disc Disorder, such as:

  • Increased pain after sitting for prolonged periods of time
  • Pain that decreases with rest
  • Pain that is eased with walking, running, or changing positions
  • Increased pain with bending, picking up objects, or twisting
  • Pain that radiates to other areas of the body

Treatment Options

Exercise, heat and cold therapy, and physical therapy along with chiropractic are all suitable treatment options that do not involve drugs or surgery.  If your teen or young adult is suffering with Juvenile Disc Disorder, come by The Joint for a gentle spinal adjustment.

At The Joint, there are no pesky insurance forms to fill out or appointment times to remember.  With over 350 convenient locations nationwide, finding a location near you is a breeze.  Come by The Joint today and help your loved one find relief.


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