Back pain in kids
Back pain is a common complaint in adults but less common in children. The most common cause of back pain in children is due to a muscle injury. Occasionally back pain may be due to an internal source such as a kidney infection, pancreatitis or gallbladder pain. Back pain inchildren may be due to a school backpack that weighs more than the recommended amount (10-15 percent of body weight). Scoliosis is a curvature of the spine that usually does not cause back pain. Rarely in children back pain may be due to an infection of the bones in the spine or a damaged interveterbral disc.
What causes back pain in children?
- Urinary tract infections
- Sports injuries
- Heavy school backpacks
- New forms of exercise (Did your child just start cheerleading practice? Did your child just get a new trampoline?)
- Injury from falls or other trauma
- An infection of a vertebrae (rare)
- A damaged inter-vertebral disc
- Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis
How is the cause of back pain investigated?
- Your physician will ask about injuries, sports, exercise, or repetitive movements. It is important for your physician to know if the pain is constant or worsens with movement.
- A urinalysis should be performed especially if your child has fever, painful urination, bloody urine, dark or cloudy urine.
- Your physician can inspect your child's back for tenderness or signs of injury.
- A back x-ray may reveal fractures or other abnormalities (but is often normal)
- A CT scan may be needed to look for sites of bone infection.
- An MRI is best for evaluating the soft tissues of the back (i.e., spinal cord and intervertebral discs)
What are the warning signs of a more severe problem?
- Pain that wakes your child from sleep
- Pain that does not respond to pain medications
- Severe pain
- Back pain associated with other symptoms or illness
How is back pain treated?
Musculoskeletal pain can be treated with an over the counter pain medicine such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Ibuprofen has an advantage for this type of pain because it treats both pain and inflammation.
Treatment for other causes of back pain should be discussed your physician.
Last Updated (Friday, 04 June 2010 20:47)