Back Pain In Children: Growing Pains or a Problem?

back pain in children


For many children, growing pains are a natural part of life. Aches and cramps can make them grouchy and irritable, and these sorts of pains often increase as children become involved in sports like basketball, soccer, and track. Back pain in children, particularly children under the age of four, should be taken seriously and monitored closely, according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. 

If the back pain continues and symptoms worsen, you may need to take your child to a chiropractic DR or a hospital. Here are some things you will want to watch out for.

Progressive Soreness

If your child plays sports or remains quite active throughout the day, some minor back soreness may just be a sign of pulled muscles or bruising. In “A Patient’s Guide to Back Pain in Children,” it is recommended that you analyze the child’s back, looking for signs of swelling, discoloration, etc. An estimated 60 percent of children with back pain fall into this category, and the soreness wears off within a couple of days. 

An additional source of pain appears to be poor posture and slumping, which causes pain throughout the shoulders and upper spine. However, if your child’s pain continues for more than a couple of days and gets increasingly worse, you will need to visit a chiropractor. Spondylolysis, the fracturing of the lumbar vertebrae, does not show many more symptoms than increasing soreness. 

Eventually combined with a difficulty in movement and back spasms. The initial x-ray may not reveal anything. Most of the time, digital radiography systems, as well as MRI, CT, and SPECT bone scans, must be used to pinpoint the actual damage.

Fever, Pain, Bowel or Bladder Problems, or Weight Loss

Back pain sometimes signals an infection or other larger problem. When the back pain is combined with fever, sharp radiating pain, bowel or bladder problems, or weight loss, you need to take your child to the doctor right away. The “Evaluation of Back Pain in Children and Adolescents,” published in the American Family Physician, warns that even if only one of these symptoms appears in conjunction with back pain, the child needs to see a physician. In some cases, the malady is as simple as kidney stones. 

In others, it’s unfortunately a symptom of sickle cell crisis or tumors. While these sorts of illnesses occur in significantly fewer instances, early treatment allows for the greatest protection. If your child is younger than four years old and has these symptoms but the doctor cannot see him within two days, then take him to the emergency room.

Growing pains may be common and nothing to be concerned about, but back pain in children is a different matter. When this pain develops, it’s important to keep a close eye on your child. In some cases, the pain goes away on its own, but your child will need to see a chiropractor if the pain continues to worsen. 

Take your child to the doctor immediately, however, if fever, radiating pain, bowel or bladder problems, or weight loss develop along with back pain. Most of the time, when combined with back pain, these symptoms indicate a more serious problem.

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