Spine Pain Increasing Among Children
Category: Back Pain | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: February 6, 2017
When we think of spine pain, you probably picture an elderly individual hunched over a cane. It’s true that disc degeneration and spinal problems are common in older populations, but a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association revealed that incidents of spine pain are becoming more common in children.
According to the research, about one percent of 7-year-olds experience low back pain on a regular basis. That number jumps to six percent by the time the child reaches age 10, and it climbs to 18 percent for children between the ages of 14 and 16. Not only is it problematic at the outset, but research also shows that having back pain at a young age is a risk factor for back issues later in life.
Kids and Spine Pain
So why are kids these days experiencing more spine pain than in years past? Researchers said there was no single risk factor for an increased occurrence of spine pain, but there were several factors that contributed to its development, including:
- Musculoskeletal overuse
- Excessive activity/Overstress during sports
- Spinal positioning when using electronic devices
- Overloaded backpacks
- Very little physical activity
- Quickening of bone growth
- Family history of low back pain
Back Pain – Girls vs. Boys
Additionally, researchers found that girls were more likely than boys to develop back pain in their youth. As we noted in a previous blog on spine pain in children, it’s a good idea to have your child’s spine examined by a specialist if they complain of pain, although oftentimes the problem can be easily managed by conservative care at home, which is a message echoed by researchers.
“While some lower back pain needs to be treated by a specialist, most pediatricians who have a good understanding of the principles outlined in our article can help children and adolescents prevent and manage lower back pain,” said Dr. James MacDonald, lead author of the review. “Most pain with no specific cause responds to rest, rehabilitation and identification of predisposing risk factors.”
They also noted that due to their growing musculoskeletal structure, spine experts recommend that children undergo pre-season conditioning programs to help them gradually increase their activity level so their spines aren’t overloaded once the season gets under way. For more information on how you can protect your child’s spine from injury as they grow, contact Dr. Sinicropi’s office today.