I have had chronic back pain for almost ten years. It’s not severe, but lately it’s been bothering me so much that I can’t sit still for more than 10 minutes at a time. That, and a throbbing headache.
My mom took me to a doctor. After a two-hour wait and a few X-rays, he stretched my legs, tapped a few tendons, and pressed on some vertebrae to test for neurological problems or stress fractures. To my relief, he found none and explained that back pain was common among growing kids whose bones grow too fast for other organs to keep pace. The result is tight muscles and stretched nerves, both of which can cause pain.
I learned that my hamstring is too tight, which apparently is why my back curves forward so much when I sit; it’s actually normal! The doctor also explained that many swimmers suffer from back pain and told me to slow down. (My coach is currently pushing me hard to beat my record, which isn’t that great anyway.)
But when he pressed on my shoulders—OUCH. My headache is due to tight shoulders. I should stretch and rest up a bit. Maybe I should relax my head in the water when I swim.
Surprisingly, my back isn’t twisted like it used to be back in grade school. Whew. Anyway, no surgery for me. :)