Back Pain in Children

Also known as: pediatric back pain, adolescent back pain.

What is back pain in children?

Back pain is often seen as a problem among older adults, rather than children. But in recent years, the problem is becoming more common. Some reports suggest that anywhere from 20 to 70 percent of kids may have back pain by the age of 15. In some cases, these are minor aches and pains, but other children may experience more severe pain related to the spine or other underlying conditions.

What causes back pain in children?

Back pain in children is most commonly related to an injury, a muscle strain, overuse of the back or some combination of these causes. For example, kids can hurt their back by toting around a heavy backpack day after day, running, jumping or falling. More serious back problems are related to medical conditions such as scoliosis, kyphosis, spondylosis and others.

What are the symptoms of back pain in children?

Back pain can range in severity from mild to severe. If it is accompanied by weight loss, fever, trouble walking, numbness, weakness, leg pain or bowel or bladder problems, the child should receive medical attention.

What are the care options for back pain in children?

For the most common cases of back pain, relief can usually be found with a combination of rest, pain-relieving medications and changing the offending activity. Hot compresses can also help, as well as stretches and exercises to strengthen the back. For more severe back pain, treating the underlying condition should assist with the pain related to the condition.

Reviewed by: Stephen G George, MD

This page was last updated on: January 20, 2020 10:32 AM

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