Childhood Arthritis
Is It The Cause of Your Child's Pain?

Your child is complaining of lower back pain. Does that mean they have some form of childhood arthritis?

Probably not.

Most lower back pain in children and teens is not the result of arthritis, especially in the absence of other signs and symptoms.

There are arthritic diseases that do affect children and teens and must be considered and ruled-out before dismissing the seriousness of lower back pain in children and teens.

Two Types Of Arthritis

There are two basic types of arthritis. Inflammatory and non-inflammatory.

Some of the more common inflammatory athrotides are;

  • Idiopathic juvenile arthritis
  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Lymes disease

These arthritic ailments belong to the class of arthritis with an auto-immune component or infectious agent to it. With inflammatory arthritis joint damage occurs early and is evidenced by the presence of inflammation.

These arthritic ailments will show the following signs and symptoms:

  • swelling of joints, particularly fingers and hands
  • stiffness
  • may be a low grade fever present
  • positive blood tests, i.e., Rheumatoid factor, sedimentation rate, elevated white blood cell count, HLA-B27.

The other general arthritis class is non-inflammatory or degenerative joint disease.

Non-inflammatory arthritis or more appropriately termed degenerative joint disease is usually the result of an old injury or repetitive micro-trauma that has taken place over the years.

Following an injury, time is needed for non-inflammatory arthritis to develop in order for it to show its damaging effects and is therefor usually not the cause of lower back pain in teens.

I have witnessed a couple cases of degenerative joint disease in the spines of teens. Upon a thorough consultation they were able to be traced back to injuries suffered years prior.

So, it is rare for children and teens to demonstrate non-inflammatory arthritis or degenerative joint disease unless they have suffered an injury to the spine years before.The injury is often the result of athletics, falls or automobile accidents

This type of arthritis can develop without producing early symptoms. By the time symptoms become evident the degenerative process is usually well established and can then be observed on x-ray.

Arthritis Or Trigger Points

Most lower back pain in anyone, regardless of age, is usually the result of myofascial pain syndrome or trigger points.

This condition can mimic the symptoms of childhood arthritis and very often a misdiagnosis of arthritis is assigned whether or not there is visual x-ray evidence of arthritis or degenerative joint disease.

The danger of this is that the real culprit may be overlooked and failed to be treated resulting in unnecessary suffering and expense. You will also be at risk of suffering from the dangerous side-effects of medications prescribed to treat the symptoms and not the true cause.

Trigger points are easily identified and treated and there is no need for drugs or surgery.

Find a chiropractor or therapist that is knowledgeable with myofascial pain syndrome and watch your so called “arthritis” disappear with trigger point therapy.

Other lower back pain cause in childhood that need to be ruled-out are non-arthritic and include:

  • Discitis.
  • Tumors.
  • Urinary tract Infections.
  • Kidney disease.
  • Gastro-intestinal infections.
  • Spondylolisthesis/Spondylolysis.

Take Action Early

If you suspect your child or teen may have an inflammatory childhood arthritis causing their lower back pain they need to see their healthcare provider for proper evaluation and treatment.

If they have symptoms of lower back pain from an old or new injury it is imperative that appropriate steps be taken to correct or alleviate all contributing and associated factors to reduce or halt the long term damaging effects of joint irritation.

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