Back pain in children: 5 potential causes

As an adult, you’ve probably discovered that back pain is not necessarily a cause for concern. Modern man is nothing if not abusive to the body. Many of us sit at desks, typing all day. Some of us don’t know that we should lift with our legs instead of our back. And plenty of adults avoid exercise like the plague, leading to muscular degeneration, and then wonder why they suffer back pain when they attempt to perform activities that require back strength. Of course, back pain can always herald more serious issues, but most adults who suffer from ongoing back pain can blame their lifestyle. With children, it’s a different story, though. When your kids complain of back pain, the odds that there is a serious problem at play are a lot higher, and you’ll definitely want to take them to see their pediatrician as soon as possible. Here are just a few potential causes of back pain in kids that every concerned parent should be aware of.

back pain in children

  1. Injury. Kids may appear to be made of rubber sometimes, but that doesn’t mean they can’t suffer serious injuries. Whether they’re involved in sports or they’re just running around the neighborhood with their friends; climbing trees, riding bikes, and swinging, for example; your children can certainly injure themselves through accidents or foolish behavior. So when they come to you with back pain following a nasty spill or a collision with their friends or inanimate objects, you’ll want to take them to the doctor right away to get checked out.
  2. Scoliosis. Generally speaking, scoliosis is something that gets caught pretty early on thanks to testing and diagnosis by your pediatrician or a mobile unit sent out to schools specifically to perform scoliosis testing. However, even if you catch this curvature of the spine early on and begin treatment, it could still cause your child some amount of pain, especially if a back brace must be worn to straighten the spine during growth.
  3. Weak muscles and extra weight. Just as the adult lifestyle may contribute to ongoing back pain, so too can a child’s daily regimen lead to early-onset back pain. Kids that eschew exercise in favor of electronics (TV, video games, etc.) and overeat, as well, may have a number of physical issues to contend with, including weight gain (and all the problems that come with it). And nothing is more likely to create back pain than carrying extra weight in the midsection and allowing core muscles (which support the spine) to atrophy. Luckily, this condition can be cured through nothing more than a healthy diet and regular exercise in most cases.
  4. Discitis. This infection is most commonly found in children under the age of ten, and it can certainly cause pain. The infection targets the discs that rest between vertebrae, leading to swelling, stiffness, and pain that may make it difficult for children to walk or bend at the waist. Treatments could include antibiotics (depending on whether the infection is viral or bacterial) as well as steroids to reduce inflammation and pain.
  5. Slipped disc. This condition is more commonly seen in adolescents (especially those that are athletic) than in younger children and it generally occurs due to injury or stress (although kids may be genetically predisposed to weak discs). Both surgical and nonsurgical treatments may be used to treat this condition, depending on severity, age, and other factors. But you’ll almost certainly want to take your child to visit a pediatric orthopedic surgeon Milwaukee, Minnesota, or whatever city you call home.


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