While back pain is incredibly common in adults, back pain in kids isn’t. Kids’ spines are much more resilient and flexible than adults’ since they haven’t endured years of wear and tear. That being said, it’s still incredibly important to understand more about back pain in kids and the common causes.
Back Pain in Younger Kids
Compared to adults and older children, younger kids are less likely to engage in activities that stress their spines. And, if they do happen to stress their spine and it results in back pain, young kids tend not to repeat behavior that hurts. By not re-engaging in the behavior, they are helping to speed up the recovery process.
Since most younger children don’t stress their spines, the most common causes of back pain aren’t stress-induced.
- Infection – An infection in the spine is a serious condition and requires an early diagnosis.
- Tumor – Spinal tumors in young children are rare but still a major concern.
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Back Pain in Older Kids & Teens
As children age, they tend to participate in sports more aggressively and test their limits, increasing the risk of injury to their spine. Once injured, older kids and teens will often listen to the advice provided for recovery, such as minimizing activity. However, once healed, they often return to the activities that caused the initial injury. This tendency can result in overuse injuries.
Unlike younger children, the most common causes of back pain in older kids and teens are stress-induced.
- Spondylosis – This condition is most common in those that hyperextend their backs, like gymnasts. It is characterized by a defect in the joint between the vertebral bones.
- Spondylolisthesis – This spinal condition is when one vertebrae slips onto another, resulting in pain.
- Disc injuries and vertebral fractures – These conditions are most common for those participating in extreme sports. The force from being hit or falling travels through the body to the vertebrae, resulting in injury.
While back pain in kids isn’t common like it is for adults, it still happens. And when a child complains of back pain, it should be taken seriously since so few experience it. If your child is experiencing back pain, we urge you to seek professional medical attention.