When Should You Be Worried About Your Child’s Back Pain?

Category: Back Pain | Author: Stefano Sinicropi

Child Back Pain

As a parent, you want to protect your child from physical pain at all costs, but you know that they are going to have some bumps and bruises along the way. Active kids are going to get hurt at some point in their life, but how can you know if what they are dealing with is something that will go away with rest and other easy treatments or if it’s a sign of a more serious issue? In today’s blog, we share some cues that suggest you may want to have your child’s back examined by a spine specialist.

Kids with Back Pain

If your child says that their back hurts and you can reasonably point to a likely cause, you may be able to get away with monitoring it for a few days and having your child avoid overly strenuous activities that could aggravate the injury. However, if any of these factors accompany their back pain, it may be a good time to have your doctor or a back specialist take a closer look.

  • Severe Pain – Severe back pain is never normal and isn’t typically the case with a more common injury like a strain or a sprain.
  • Pain Is Getting Worse – Pain is usually most uncomfortable at its outset, and then with rest and activity avoidance it tends to feel better. If pain remains constant, or it gets worse over the first 24-48 hours, bring them in to the doctor.
  • Pain Is Chronic/Consistent – If your child is regularly complaining about their back discomfort, even if it’s only mild in nature, consider having them examined by a specialist. Chronic pain is a sign of an unaddressed underlying issue.
  • Your Child Is Under 5 – Some discomfort during adolescence and teen years is common during periods of rapid growth, but growth spurts aren’t typically a cause of pain in young children. If your four-year-old says their back is hurting, take them to the doctor.
  • It’s Affecting Their Gait – If pain or spinal discomfort is affecting how your child walks or moves, it’s time to get to the root of the issue by visiting a specialist. Walking with an inhibited gait for an extended period puts abnormal stress on other joints like your hip or knees, which can lead to another set of issues.
  • Pain Is Preventing Restful Sleep – If your child says they had a hard time falling asleep because of their back pain, or they kept waking up in the middle of the night because of their back discomfort, head in to a physician’s office. Sleep is supposed to be a restful time for our body and mind, and symptoms can worsen during waking hours if the body can’t properly recover at night.
  • Movement Restrictions – Back pain may make it more difficult to move their spine as freely, but if back pain is causing symptoms in their arms, leg or neck, you should bring them to a specialist. Oftentimes these symptoms are a sign of a nerve problem that could get worse if left untreated, and a spine specialist has a number of ways to easily free the compressed nerve.

This isn’t a comprehensive list, and follow your gut when it comes to providing care for your child. Even if they don’t think it’s a big deal, if you’re worried about their underlying back pain, have a specialist take a look. Oftentimes treatment is much simpler than most people realize once they take the time to connect with a specialist and get a diagnosis. For more information, or for help with any spine issues in your family, reach out to Dr. Sinicropi and the team at The Midwest Spine & Brain Institute today.

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