There is a myth that we don’t get back pain
till we grow and most of us think it is a disease of tired bone. In contrast
kids and teenagers do get back pain. Many studies had shown that nearly half
percentage of school going children are prone to have a sore back.
Because of the myth that back pain is very
rare in children it is often over looked and labelled as growing pains. In
fact, back pain in children needs even more careful evaluation and warrants examination
by a specialist as chances of serious pathology is much more common in children
than that in middle aged people.
Kids are least prone to put stresses on
their back than the teenagers or adults and are less prone to Mechanical Back
ache. On the other hand, teenagers who
tend to be more aggressive in their activities, sports testing the limits of
their bodies commonly get mechanical back symptoms.
What are the causes of back pain in kids and
Spinal defects like minor defects in the
vertebrae (spondylolysis), gross defects in some cases of spina bifida may
cause back pain.
Back pain caused by placing abnormal
stress and strain on muscles of the vertebral column.
The most common causes are poor
posture, heavy school bags, poorly-designed seating, incorrect bending and lifting motions, exercises (not doing enough or over doing) and obesity.
Trauma or injury:
Often due to repetitive minor injuries like
in sports or one major fall or accident.
It is one of the causes in both kids and
teenagers. Even though it is less common nowadays due to better nutrition, it
is still a major problem. When the child is suffering from fever associated
with sudden or repetitive back ache, swelling over the back, failure to thrive
in kids, weakness in one or the other limbs suggest the possibility of
infection in spine.
Any abnormal growing mass from the soft tissue,
bone or nerves in the spinal column can cause back pain both in kids and
Scoliosis and kyphosis are the 3
dimensional deformities of the spine. Unless they are gross they often get
missed till late. This is because generally they are not associated with
significant pain contrary to one’s expectations.
Growing aches and pains are more common in
teenagers than in kids and to be dealt accordingly.
If a child is suffering from back pain
regularly appropriate management should be initiated. The threshold to
investigate is much lower in kids as the chances of a serious pathology is higher
in kids compared to the adults. But when pain seems to be due to mechanical
reasons, attention to ergonomics in the school and avoidance of some sports etc
are important. Now a days the problem is getting compounded due to obesity in
children. Appropriate exercises to suit the individual child and swimming are
Red flag signs
q Patient under 20 years of age,
more worrying under 4 yrs
q Symptoms persisting
beyond 4 weeks
q Generally unwell, weight loss, failure
q Sudden pain & swelling on
the back, with fever
q Night sweats
q Pain worse at night or over
thoracic / whole spine
q Unsteady feet, numbness or pins / needle sensation of limbs
q New curvature/bends of
the spine with pain
q Children on immuno suppression
q Trauma / injuries to back
Doctor Dr. Mohan Krishna Althuri, 2013081311:09:53