How Children Are Affected by Back Pain

Parent carries child on their back

Many adults have experienced back pain at one point or another. Some even deal with chronic back issues. Back pain in children is not as common, yet it still occurs. One study has shown that one in three adolescents between the ages of 10-18 has experienced back pain within the last year. When your child complains of an aching back, you may wonder how serious of an issue it is. Back pain is nothing to take lightly. How can you determine the seriousness of your child’s back pain?

When to be Concerned About Your Child’s Back Pain

It can be difficult to determine if your child’s pain is serious enough to seek medical help. When it comes to your child complaining of back pain, you may be tempted to immediately contact your chiropractor. These are signs of a more serious issue to be aware of: pain during the night (especially if it keeps the child awake, or wakes your child up), chronic pain, symptoms of an illness (such as a fever or changes in weight) and tingling or numbness in the legs. Even though your child may display these symptoms, it is not a definite indication that there is a serious back injury. If you are uncertain about your child’s pain, seek medical help. 

Muscular Back Pain

Muscular back pain is the most commonly experienced type of back pain for children and teenagers. Usually, it is caused by poor posture, especially if your child is sitting poorly for the majority of the day. It can also occur from overuse, muscle or ligament strains or improper conditioning. If your child is involved in sports or has recently started being more physically active than usual, there is a greater chance of strain due to a lack of proper conditioning beforehand. Depending on the seriousness of the pain and how long it persists, you may need to have your child undergo an MRI or an X-ray. However, these tests are frequently not helpful for diagnosing the issue. In many cases, treatment such as physical therapy, yoga or visiting a chiropractor is the most successful option. 

Stress Fractures

Stress fractures are a common occurrence in children and teenagers. Often, the individual will not even realize that a fracture has happened. However, the injury will eventually make itself known. The most common fracture that occurs is known as spondylolysis, which is caused by the repetitive movement of bending backward. This injury affects the back of the spinal column and can cause the spinal column to move out of alignment if the fracture occurs on both sides. Fractures can be frightening because they are not known to repair themselves and can cause further issues as they develop into adulthood. Fortunately, most children who suffer from this type of fracture can be treated with non-invasive treatments. Surgery is only necessary for children who experience severe and chronic pain from fractures. 

Disc Problems

A disc herniation involves a rupture of the tissue between spinal discs. The disc or discs are then pushed out of the normal position and against the spine and nerves, causing discomfort. Some symptoms of a herniated disc are leg pain, tingling in the legs, trouble bending or weakness in the lower body. Children have more elastic disc material and are less likely to experience disc problems. Yet, these issues can still arise if they experience a traumatic injury. If you suspect that your child has a herniated disc, you will need to schedule an MRI to properly diagnose the issue. Going to a chiropractor can greatly help ease pain and can help to relieve the pressure of the herniated disc. 


Spinal infections are most common in toddlers and young children. Common symptoms are fevers and back pain in a generalized area. An infection is usually detected by inflammation or a high level of white blood cells. In most cases, X-rays are used to determine where the infection is located. In most cases, spinal infections are treated with antibiotics that can be given intravenously. 

Alignment Abnormalities

Alignment abnormalities in the spine can be common in young children. The two most common being scoliosis and Scheuermann’s kyphosis. Scoliosis is known to make an S-shaped curve in the spine, while Scheuermann’s kyphosis can create a sharp curve. Whether these abnormalities are noticeable or not, they can affect back pain. Fortunately though, in most cases, children who have spinal abnormalities do not suffer from chronic pain.

If your child is suffering from serious or chronic back pain, schedule an appointment with a chiropractor. Contact Apps Chiropractic today!