Poor spinal health in adolescence can lead to chronic pain in adulthood. Teenagers, just like adults, can experience back pain from accidents, sports injuries, a sedentary lifestyle, part-time jobs, chores, etc. However, sitting too long in school along with heavy backpacks can also contribute to compromised spinal health. Chiropractic professionals can help these young individuals address and prevent spinal issues/injuries to maintain a healthy spine.
Teenagers Spine Issues
If discomfort or pain is present, much push through, as they and their spines are young. There are common spinal dysfunctions that teens and parents should be aware of. These include:
Teenagers can put a serious strain on the spine from various forms of physical activity, jumping, dancing, and playing. This pressure gets transmitted through the spine. During a teenager’s development, this can result in permanent disc damage.
A spinal deformity or exaggerated curvature of the spine is common and affects young children and teens. It usually happens during the growth spurt just before puberty. This is why it is important to have a teenager’s spine checked regularly and analyzed for signs/symptoms of scoliosis.
This condition is often associated with sports injuries. It happens when teenagers overextend/overreach their backs. It’s most common in gymnastics, weight lifting, tennis, football, diving, and other similar sports.
Protection and Prevention
There are several ways that parents and healthcare providers can help teenagers make healthy decisions to achieve and maintain optimal spinal health.
Sitting less, moving more.
Children are taught to sit from a very young age. In school, watching t.v., or doing homework, teenagers spend more time sitting than their bodies should. Teenagers need to stand, walk and move around just like adults to protect their spines from degeneration and injury.
Maintaining healthy posture
Teens who learn how to maintain proper posture at a young age can maintain it for the rest of their life. Learning proper posture at a young age.
Playing sports is healthy. However, there is a risk associated with teen sports. Although they are taught to play safely, encourage them to continue to educate themselves about sports injuries and know how to address them.
At Injury Medical Chiropractic and Functional Medicine Clinic, we’re committed to helping young adults and adolescents overcome and prevent spinal injuries that could turn into chronic pain conditions. We are continually developing our chiropractic, and physical therapy treatment approaches to achieve optimal results.
Sleep and Growth Hormone In Children
Growth hormones primarily control growth. The hypothalamus and the pituitary gland regulate this hormone. Sleep plays an important role in the proper function of these glands. A review showed that:
- Growth hormone levels rise and peak at the onset of deep sleep
- Multiple but smaller peaks were seen during other sleep stages
- Individuals that have a delay in the onset of deep sleep have delayed peaks in growth hormone levels
For children to grow properly, they need to have adequate levels of growth hormone. This means they need to have a sufficient amount of sleep. The proper amount of sleep is vital for healthy body composition. A study measured the body composition of preschool-aged children. The study found that children who had proper sleep levels had less overall fat mass and reduced body fat. Children and teenagers need to get the proper amounts of sleep for their bodies to grow healthily.
Clement, R Carter et al. “What are normal radiographic spine and shoulder balance parameters among adolescent patients?.” Spine deformity vol. 8,4 (2020): 621-627. doi:10.1007/s43390-020-00074-9
Driehuis, Femke et al. “Spinal manual therapy in infants, children and adolescents: A systematic review and meta-analysis on treatment indication, technique, and outcomes.” PloS one vol. 14,6 e0218940. 25 Jun. 2019, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0218940
Manansala, Christian et al. “Change in young people’s spine pain following chiropractic care at a publicly funded healthcare facility in Canada.” Complementary therapies in clinical practice vol. 35 (2019): 301-307. doi:10.1016/j.ctcp.2019.03.013
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The information herein on "A Teenagers Spine During Development" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, or licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.
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Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, CCST, IFMCP*, CIFM*, ATN*
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