Adolescent low back pain has received limited research attention despite its potentially considerable impact on quality of life. The role of diagnostic triage to identify serious or specific pathology and/or order relevant investigations is considered. An overview of contemporary pain mechanisms is provided, with specific reference to the wide range of risk factors for persistent low back pain. Education and exercise framed within a biopsychosocial framework are the cornerstones of treatment. There is a lack of data on more comprehensive personalized treatment approaches among adolescents. One such approach - Cognitive Functional Therapy - which has shown promise in adults and active adolescents with low back pain, is described and illustrated using a case study. The most promising avenues, in practice and research, may be those that view adolescent low back pain as less of a local structural spinal issue and more of an indication of the general health of the adolescent.