Lower back pain in children can be worrisome. You don't usually think of children and back pain in the same context. Any time one of our children has pain or an illness we worry for their health and safety. And I will bet, if you are like me, you would rather suffer the pain and illness instead of your child.
Low back pain in children can have the same causes as that of an adult. This is especially true if your child is engaged in athletic activities, cheer-leading or active play
They can suffer sprains and strains, have structural deficits, be born with a spinal defect or develop spine related conditions such as spondylolisthesis.
Because the bones, ligaments and muscles are young and pliable they are usually more resistant to injury or trauma, including fractures. One fracture that occurs almost entirely in a child is spondylolysis. As a child advances in age he or she will be more apt to suffer lower back pain due to injury or trauma
Other common causes of lower back pain in children are flat feet, over-pronation and abnormal posture.
One of the more common conditions for lower back pain in child is myofascial pain syndrome (trigger points) in the lower back muscles.
Of course don't overlook that backpack. Kid's backpacks have everything loaded in it that they can get. Books, lunch and snacks, gym clothes and shoes, cell phones, and other electronic gadgets and everything else they can think of. All of this can add up to 20 or more pounds. Make sure they are using a backpack designed to minimize the stress of all that weight on their back and is age and size appropriate.
Always have any lower back pain in children examined and evaluated by a healthcare provider in order to rule out any serious conditions that will need professional attention and care, especially for any pain of unknown origin.
Some of the more serious conditions that cause lower back pain in kids include:
Lower back pain and fever, in both adults and children, requires immediate attention and can be a sign of a more serious condition. If no serious, medical condition is found then most likely the pain has its origin in the muscles in the form of trigger points.
Treatment for a child with low back pain is no different than that of an adult.
All structural deficits should be corrected. Therapy should be directed at muscle and spinal balance, joint integrity an postural improvement, with exercise to improve strength, flexibility and endurance. Chiropractic evaluation and care is especially important in the young because most adult spine related pain can be traced back to injuries sustained as a child and that were perhaps not treated properly.
Attention must not only be focused on the immediate complaints, but also on correction of any spinal conditions with proper rehabilitation and correction to the fullest extent possible. This approach will aid in preventing degeneration of the disc and joints that will become evident in adulthood.
Many of the cases of degenerative disc, facet syndrome, arthritis and disc herniation can have their beginnings in childhood as a result of trauma. They may not manifest symptoms for 20-30 years when well into adulthood.
What can you do to prevent childhood back pain?
1. Use a backpack designed and fitted for your child.
2. Evaluate for flat feet, pronation and purchase quality orthotics when indicated.
3. Ensure proper footwear.
4. Analyze leg length and use appropriate heel lifts to correct any inequality in leg length. Evaluate every six months for change.
6. Encourage walking and physical activity. Minimize sitting. A child sits too many
hours per day.
7. Have any child with low back pain evaluated by a health care professional, especially a chiropractor.
8. Identify, treat and prevent trigger points that are usually the cause of most lower back pain.
Like adults, most childhood back pain is the result of structural imbalances such as a short leg or pelvic tilt.
If low back pain is caused by minor, insignificant stresses and strains, it will heel within 2-3 weeks.
If the pain is persistent it could be caused by chronic structural stress, bladder infections or trigger points.
Always take any pain seriously and be evaluated by a healthcare provider of your choice.