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Mobility, Pain

Is it Normal for a Young Adult to Have Chronic Back Pain?

By Joe Talarico on Jun 24, 2021 9:00:00 AM
5 Minutes Reading Time


I wouldn’t say it is normal for a young adult to have chronic back pain. The sad truth is it is VERY common. 1 in 5 Americans say they have back issues. We’re all bound to get some sort of chronic pain as we get older if we continually get injured and/or don’t stay on top of taking care of our bodies.

Taking Care of A Car

This is an oversimplification, but think of your body like a car. I had a car with over 120,000 miles on it. I’ve NEVER had any serious issue other than routine wear and tear. I have friends with much newer cars with less than 20,000 miles on it who have been to the shop more times than I can count. How is that possible? My father always said as long as you stay on top of routine check ups, and not abuse the way you drive the car, it’ll last forever.


When we’re young we’re invincible. We recover super quickly from workouts, if we get injured we bounce back within weeks, we’re overall resilient. RARELY if at all, do any of us do mobility work, or injury prevention exercises early into our sports or lifting careers. And THIS is the exact problem. It’s the equivalent of knowing all you have to do is take your car in for an oil change and maybe replace the brake pads. Instead of just taking care of it early, you say to yourself “What’s the big deal? I’ll know when it’s an issue when the brakes stop working properly!”

But by then, you are already too late. AND you’ve risked potentially needing to fix much more than just a brake pad. If you are a young adult, and have chronic back pain, you NEED to get to the root of the problem ASAP 

Overdevelopment and Postural Issues

If you have a weaker side when you are working out, address it right then and there. If you have even a slight pain, or lack of range of motion on one side of your body or in your hips or shoulder blades, ADDRESS it. If not addressed early as a young adult, you’re just kicking the can down the road. And you are putting pounds and pounds in the gym on what eventually becomes a more shortened movement furthering that issue.

This isn’t just a chronic pain issue. For those of us wanting to maximize muscle gain this is important. Optimal muscle growth happens through overcoming a load through a FULL range of motion. By definition you cannot optimize muscle growth if you are compensating a full range due to pain limiting your movement.

Lay The Foundation and PRIME!

You must prime your body. If you have low back issues, I would start with hips. Try doing a squat holding a stick behind your head and low back and seeing if you can get into a full depth while maintaining contact with the stick against the back of your head, shoulder blades, and glutes. Feet flat on the floor, and hitting at least 90 degrees. If you are unable to achieve any part of this consistently, and without pain, then you can be sure your hips are holding you back.  

Solution: This is a good thing! Now we can address it. Now we know it isn’t the low back that is the problem, just the information in regards to a problem. If we know you lack hip mobility, then we want to increase it. The glutes, core, and hip flexors are what allow for proper hip mobility as well as some hamstring involvement. One or more of these muscles are not firing properly.

Exercises such as bird dogs, hip bridges, 90/90’s, deadbugs, and planks will help recruit your central nervous system and re-groove lost neural pathways so that you are now firing the right muscles. Practice this frequently! 15 minutes, multiple times a day, is better than doing it for one hour, two days a week. The more you practice awaken your dormant muscles with proper form, the better you will get at returning to full range of motion. The end result? The back pain will go away.

Be sure to check out our MAPS Prime or Prime Pro program if you want more direct help with addressing these low back issues, or check out any of our free videos on low back pain on our Mind Pump YouTube page.

Back Pain | Mind Pump Media

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Joe Talarico

Joe is a certified Precision Nutrition and strength & conditioning coach. He assisted the UCLA Women’s Tennis team in winning their 2014 NCAA Championship Title, as well as study under the great strength coaches at Pepperdine University. He was a collegiate rower at the University of Rhode Island (where he got his Kinesiology degree) as well as an amateur physique competitor. He is currently the master trainer at Upgrade Labs in Santa Monica where he is combining his years of training clients in the gym with newer technology to optimize their performance and recovery. He also cohosts The RelationSH*T Show Podcast with his fiancée where they discuss all relationship topics unfiltered from who pays on dates, to open relationships.

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