Back pain is a common problem among adults. Currently, it is becoming a more frequent issue among kids, with as many as 24% of children and adolescents experiencing it. There are several factors causing back pain in kids and in the majority of cases, it is a result from muscle strain, injury, or overuse.
Muscular Back Pain
Muscular back pain is the most common cause of back pain in children and adolescents and often the lower back is the affected area. Most muscular back pain episodes are temporary and aren’t usually a cause for concern. A minor injury such as a muscle strain or ligament sprain can cause this type of pain, alongside bad posture, over exertion, overuse injuries, and poor conditioning of the back muscles. Muscular back pain usually responds well to rest and activity modification, but other treatments such as physical therapy, chiropractic care, massage therapy, and gentle stretching programs can also help.
A stress fracture can occur in the spine and is often caused by overuse. Young people are more at risk of these types of injuries as their bones are still growing. It does not always cause symptoms straight away, but over time, signs of a stress fracture may begin to show, particularly pain associated with activity. The most common type of stress fracture is spondylolysis which can happen from repetitive stress or injuries to the spine, while some children may also be born with the condition. Kids and adolescents who play sports and do activities that can strain the lower back or that involve repetitive hyperextension (bending backwards) are most at risk, such as during football, gymnastics, diving, and ballet. If a stress fracture occurs at both sides of the spinal column, it can cause spinal instability and spondylolisthesis – when the front part of the vertebra slides away from the back part. Treatment for these conditions usually only requires rest and physical therapy.
Problems with the alignment of the spine can cause back pain. Scoliosis is a deformity that causes a noticeable S-shaped curve to the spine when viewed from the back. Scoliosis is usually permanent without medical intervention, but if the condition progresses, it can lead to pressure on nerves causing weakness, numbness and pain. Treatment isn’t always necessary and depends on the severity of the condition but can include wearing a brace or in extreme cases, surgery.
Disc herniation is far less common in children than in adults, because spinal discs are more pliable and elastic and can withstand greater force. However, they can still get damaged during certain sports or forceful activities. A herniated disc (also known as a ruptured disc) often affects the lower back. Discs are cushion- like pads which act as shock absorbers between the vertebrae bones in the spine. A herniated disc happens when the outer disc layer tears allowing its gel-like center to leak out. This can irritate and put pressure on the nerves and spinal cord and cause pain. Usually, surgery is not required to treat a herniated disc and conservative methods such as rest, physical therapy, rehabilitation therapy, and pain relief medication are the preferred treatment methods.
Back Pain Specialists in Delaware
If your child is experiencing back pain, Delaware Back Pain & Sports Rehabilitation Centers can help. We are dedicated specialists who provide compassionate and personalized care for a variety of back conditions and injuries. We offer a range of services to successfully treat back pain including, advanced nonsurgical procedures, chiropractic care, and sports medicine. For more information about our treatments and services, call today at one of our convenient locations in Delaware or you can request an appointment online