Signs and SymptomsSymptoms can vary, the most common:
- Pain increases with movement, like bending or twisting
- Increased pain after sitting or standing for an extended period
- Sore and tender muscles around the spine
- Tight muscles
- Muscle spasms
Common CausesLike adults, muscle sprains and strains are the most common cause of back pain. Strains are more common in the low back than around the neck or middle back and usually occur from overuse injuries, poor posture, poor body mechanics, and falls. Other common causes include:
- Weak core
- Muscle weakness and stiffness
- A sedentary lifestyle, not enough activity
- Sitting and slouching in front of the computer for too long
- Carrying an overloaded backpack
Spinal ConditionsRecreational and sports activities with injuries sustained are the most common causes of developing back pain. However, back pain can be brought on by underlying health and spine-related conditions. About a third of adolescents with low back pain could have a spinal condition. The most common conditions include:
Idiopathic ScoliosisThis is an abnormal curvature of the spine. This is usually not a painful condition. Some curvatures can be severe enough to cause pain and require medical care. Scoliosis can include the middle, low spine, or the entire spine. It is most common in adolescents 11-17 years of age. Symptoms include:
- Tilted shoulders
- Uneven hip bones
- One side of the ribs projects out more than the other
Scheuermann’s kyphosisThis is a growth disorder of the vertebrae. It happens when the front of the spine does not grow as fast as the back of the spine. This can produce a humpback curvature. The spine bends forward but the child cannot stand up straight. Usually, it happens during accelerated growth periods.
SpondylolysisThe vertebrae can break in children and kids that do repetitive exercises involving bending and twisting. Sports like gymnastics and football create a heightened risk for spondylolysis. It usually affects the low back and presents with non-stop low back pain. The most common treatment is rest. Other causes include:
- Spinal cord tumors
- Sickle cell anemia
Common TreatmentsBack pain in children is usually a short experience and can be treated with ice, rest, and over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen for children and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen. A playing/exercise program can significantly help reduce child back pain. However, there could be a need to modify the activity, so as to not worsen the injury or create new injury/s. The activities could be made to be lighter or a brace could be utilized. A specialist like a chiropractor/physical therapist can provide treatment, along with exercises, stretches, and lifestyle changes that will help reduce the pain. Complementary therapies like massage and acupuncture can enhance the child’s healing/recovery time and knock out the pain quickly.
Parental PreventionProper posture can and will prevent back pain. Children’s and adolescents’ musculoskeletal structures continue to develop at this stage. Therefore, sitting, standing, and lifting properly is paramount to preventing back pain. Along with this is avoiding activities that place repeated strain on the spine. An example is an overexertion while playing sports. Tips for keeping kids back-pain free:
- Avoid activities that generate repeated strain on the same muscles
- Stretching breaks need to be incorporated when sitting for a long time
- Limit sedentary activities
- Teach proper posture
- No slouching
- As much as possible make the home a stress-free environment
- Maintain a healthy weight and diet with balanced meals and snacks
- Help promote overall mental and physical health
Lower Back Pain Chiropractic Treatment
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