It's usually adults who we treat for back pain, however we have seen a worrying amount of children and teenagers complaining of back pain.
In fact, when we looked into this further we found that the number of back pain in the under 18s age group has increased across the US over the years. As we are treating these young people we understood that the pain is often caused by particular muscular too much of one thing and not enough of another that change and get better from sitting still for long periods of time or having bad habits when doing day- to day activities. This is good news, as bad habits can be changed and children can be exercised!
What are these bad habits which are causing all the problems?
A few examples include carrying heavy school bags or using a device which load the spine and in turn cause back pain. This is because carrying heavy school bags over one shoulder blocks one side of your back , which produces unequal arm swing and causes your lower back to twist more to the opposite side and head to tilt to the same side. This causes the spine to adopt unusual loaded postures that are undesirable for a developing spine and may increase risk of back pain.
So what can you do?
Firstly, it's important to understand that teenage and children's spines differ from adult spines in many ways. Basically, a developing spine is more flexible and unable to take as much load as an adult spine until it is fully formed. It is easy to pass off children's back painas a 'niggle' and 'part of growing up', however stiffness and tight feelings in the back are not usual and could point to show the muscles are working too hard to support the back and something within the spine might be under too much pressure.
Children and teenagers should keep the weight of their rucksacks to a minimum by using lockers or desks at school to store their belongings, and pull the backpack straps tight to avoid head lean.