6 Reasons for Back Pain in Kids

Back pain is typically thought to be a problem in the middle and older age, but a recent study found that more than a third of children and adolescents reported back pain in the previous year, with nearly 9% reporting severe back pain.

Obesity, intense year-round sports activities, and carrying a heavy backpack to school are all causes of back pain in children and teenagers.

There are numerous causes of back pain in children. Back pain can be caused by something minor, such as a pulled muscle, or by something more serious.

Back pain in children is more likely to indicate a serious problem than it is in adults. This is especially true if a child’s back pain does not improve within a few days or worsens.

1. Muscular pain 

The most common cause of back pain in children and adolescents is muscular back pain. They may describe their back as “aching,” “sore,” or “tender.”

This type of back pain is frequently caused by muscle strains and ligament strains, as well as overuse. Children who participate in year-round, intense sports are especially vulnerable to these injuries.

Posture issues can cause back pain in people of all ages and be a source of longing discomfort.

Children who are overweight or obese may experience pain as a result of the strain that extra weight places on their back muscles, ligaments, and bones.

2. Stress fractures 

Back pain in adolescents is frequently caused by stress fractures in the spine. However, because symptoms can take time to appear, your teen may be unaware that they have been injured.

If they do experience pain as a result of the fracture, it will most likely be a dull ache in the area where the break occurred. They may also notice that the pain worsens when they move and improves when they rest.

3. Disc problems 

A spinal disc herniation occurs when the soft cushion between two vertebrae ruptures. The disc material is pushed out of its normal space, putting pressure on the nerves and spinal cord.

The disc material in children is very elastic, which helps the spine handle unusual forces. As we age, our discs lose elasticity and become more prone to rupture.

However, discs in a child’s back can rupture if they are subjected to excessive force. Ruptures can also occur if the discs are structurally abnormal.

4. Infections 

Infections of the spine can occur in toddlers, children, and adolescents. Back pain, low-grade fevers, and a general feeling of being sick are some of the symptoms of these infections.

Infections of the spinal bones or discs can be difficult to detect, but there are some key features that a provider will look for.

Abnormal blood tests that show signs of infection or inflammation will provide information about the cause of your child’s back pain. Imaging tests can assist providers in determining the location of the infection.

Antibiotics will be required if the infection is caused by bacteria. They may need to administer them via IV rather than orally.

Surgery is only considered if the infection has caused damage to the spinal cord, is not improving with antibiotics, or other complications arise.

5. Alignment issues 

Back pain can occur if your child’s spinal alignment is abnormal. It may also alter the appearance of your child’s back. Sometimes deformities are visible but do not cause pain.

Scoliosis and Scheuermann’s kyphosis are the two most common spinal deformities in children.

A provider can measure your child’s spine curve using X-ray or MRI images.

6. Tumors 

Bone tumors in the spinal column can be noncancerous (benign) or cancerous (malignant). While spinal tumors are a rare cause of back pain in children and adolescents, a provider may consider them. Some tumors are extremely painful, while others may not cause any symptoms at all.

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