Back pain in children is rare but common in young adults in their adolescence stage. The major culprits of back pain in children include bad posture, carrying heavy school bags or engaging in strenuous exercises. If your children complain of back pains, consult a doctor as soon as possible. Lack of treatment at an early age can lead to chronic back pains when they grow up.
There lies a big problem when the back pain of your little one is accompanied by;
- High fever
- Weight loss
- Trouble maintaining stability and walking
- Lower back pain radiating down to both legs
- Bladder and bowel movement problems
- Severe back pain that prevents the baby from sleeping.
- Stiffness of the spine
Conditions That Cause Back Pain in Children
Always make a point to take your children to the doctor if they complain of continuous back pain. Most of the time, the back pain may be triggered by soft tissue injury. Additionally, the pain might also be caused by a medical condition that requires immediate medical attention. These conditions include;
Muscle Strain and Imbalances
Muscle strain is the major culprit of back pain in children and adolescents. Mainly, the condition is treated with the use of pain killers to relieve the pain combined with a physical therapy program.
Rounded backs are common in children in their adolescent stage. This condition brings about middle back pain. The child’s back becomes wedged making it rounded. The wedged or the curved part of the back may ache, and the pain increases with activity.
Fracture of the Spine
Spondylolysis in children occurs during adolescent growth spurts or when engaging in physical activities like sports, gymnastics, playing football or even diving. The pain from this condition is usually mild and radiates down to the legs. Even worse, the pain increases with an increase in physical activity. A child suffering from Spondylolysis walks slowly with short steps.
A slipped vertebra occurs when one vertebra shifts over another vertebra. The progression of this condition can bring about Spondylolysis. Slipped vertebra mainly occurs at the lumbosacral junction. Severe cases lead to narrowing of the spine compressing the nerves.
Infection of diskitis leads to back pain in children. The infection is common in children between the age of one to five years. This condition is not only limited to young children; even older children in their teens can still get this condition.
Children with diskitis can display the following symptoms;
- Lower back pain accompanied with back stiffness.
- Children refusing to walk or walking with limps.
- The child prefers to squat rather than to bend when picking something on the floor.
Tumors are rare but can occur on the spine bringing about back pain. They mainly occur in the middle and the lower areas of the back. The pain caused by these tumors is constant and increases with time unless removed surgically or by use of medication.
Causes of Back Pain in Children
A simple accident or injury on the back can lead to continuous and nagging pain. Minor injuries from sporting activities can also cause muscle strain or spasm. This makes some of the back muscles to work more than others. Due to this reason, the child may become fatigued, experience pain and also change their posture.
Children experiencing back pain can refrain from any physical activities, and this only makes the condition worse. Here are some of the factors that could cause back pain to your little one.
- Gender. Young girls are more prone to back pain than boys.
- Age. Children over 12 years experience more back pain than younger kids.
- Overweight or obesity where the weight of the child is exerted on the spine and the spine becomes overwhelmed with time.
- Bad sitting, standing or sleeping posture.
- A sedentary lifestyle where the child spends most of their time sitting down and being inactive.
- Muscle sprain and strains that occur during physical activities such as games, swimming, gymnastics or even dancing.
The relationship Between Back Pain and Schoolbags
Do you know that your child’s school bag could be the reason for your child’s back pain? How does your child carry their bag while going to school? How heavy is your child’s school bag? These are some of the questions you should ask yourself to gauge whether your child’s school bag could be the cause of their back pain. A heavy schoolbag slug on one of the shoulders can cause back pains that are felt even after the child becomes an adult. Therefore, parents could prevent this by buying the right school bag size and making sure the load isn’t too much. Risk factors for back pain in children include;
- Children carrying a school bag are that is more than 10% of their weight.
- Children should never carry their school bag using one shoulder.
- Incorrect arrangement of items in the school bag.
- Incorrect size of the school bag- a big bag school bag that even after adjusting the straps the bag hangs below the child’s waist.
Factors to consider when Buying a School bag
To prevent back pain in children, you should know the factors to look for when buying a school bag for your child. Here are some of the factors you should look for;
- Buy a school bag that suits the size f your little one. Do not try to save up buy buying a big bag that would serve them for a longer time. Large bags only sag below the child’s waist causing back pain.
- Always buy a school bag that has adjustable straps to ensure the bag always rests above the child’s waist.
- The bag should have a compartment that helps you pack your child’s stuff appropriately.
- Choose canvas over leather since canvas is lighter than leather.
How to pack Your Child’s Schoolbag
As we have seen, your child’s school bag should weigh less than 10% of their weight. For example, if your child weighs 30 for their bag should weigh at least 3kg. Approximately, the child should only carry like 2-3 books.
Ensure you pack the heaviest items in the compartment near the back. If you pack the opposite, the heavy load that is far away from the back throws out the center of gravity causing unwanted back strain.
Always make sure the items n your child’s back pack do not move around when in transit. This helps to maintain the center of gravity.
Your child’s health is vital and should always aim for having a healthy back. Encourage your children to take regular walks and stretches in between homework times to refrain from sitting down for long. Also, limit their time to watch television and encourage them to indulge more in outdoor activities.
Always teach your children the importance of maintaining a good posture- sitting with their backs straight also avoiding slouching on the chair. When you embrace all this, back pain in children will only be a matter of the past!