A Closer Look At How Children Experience Spine Pain

Category: Back Pain | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: September 3, 2020

Pediatric Scoliosis

Back pain is often viewed as a problem that only affects older adults, and while this group is the most likely to experience spine pain, they are far from the only demographic to deal with the condition. Unfortunately, back pain is also an issue among teens and children, and unless it is treated properly, it can lead to lifelong spine pain. Today, we take a closer look at why children sometimes experience back pain and how it is often treated.

Children and Back Pain

To get a better understanding of why children and teens are experiencing back pain, we turn to a large study from the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York. Their study looked at a cross-sectioned survey of more than 4,000 children and teens between the ages of 10 and 18 years old. Participants were asked about their back pain, its duration, where and when it occurred and more. Here’s what they had to say.

  • 33.7% of kids said they had experienced back pain in one form or another within the last year.
  • As kids got older, so too did their likelihood of having back pain within the last year.
  • Active treatment strategies were sought by 40.9% of participants.
  • The most common treatment strategy was physical therapy.
  • Only 1.6% needed injections or surgery for their back pain.
  • Having government insurance or no insurance coverage was associated with a reduced likelihood of seeking out an active treatment for back pain.
  • Having a higher BMI was associated with an increased likelihood of having back pain within the last year.
  • Children were approximately 4.1% more likely with each year to experience back pain, but as they aged, so too did their likelihood of seeking out active treatment for their pain (2.1%).

These findings are significant for many reasons. For starters, it seems shocking that roughly one in three children has experienced back pain within the last year. Sure, kids tend to be more active and can pick up more bumps and bruises along the way, but it would be interesting to learn if the widespread adoption of the cell phone was also linked to such a high percentage of back injuries, as usage of a smartphone often strains our cervical spine. Moreover, while it’s not surprising that physical therapy was the most common treatment option, as that tends to be the same for adults, it was a little concerning to see that insurance access limited a child’s ability to receive care. Parents shouldn’t have to choose between a big medical bill and helping their child rid themselves of spine pain.

Back Pain Doctor in Minnesota

Hopefully, this study shines a light on just how common back pain is for children and teens. The more we know about how back injuries develop in juveniles, the better we can treat and prevent the conditions. If your child is suffering from spine pain or recurrent back pain flare-ups, please set up a consultation with your general practitioner or a spine specialist like Dr. Sinicropi. Treatment is often much easier for younger patients, so let us help your child get back to a pain-free way of living. For more information, or to set up an appointment, give Dr. Sinicropi’s office a call today at (651) 430-3800.

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