By: 8 March 2022
Reasons to take back pain in children seriously

Back discomfort is frequent in elderly people, although it is not commonly thought of as a childhood illness. When your child complains of back discomfort, you may question if it’s just a typical ache or if he or she needs to see a paediatric spine specialist.

By the age of 15, up to 70% of youngsters will have had back discomfort at some point in their lives. Back discomfort becomes more likely with age and is substantially more common in women.

The study discovered that when patients seek treatment, physical therapy is the most usually prescribed treatment, with less than 2% of patients requiring more intrusive procedures such as injections and surgery. Given that pain can have a significant influence on a child’s life, it is critical to prevent and treat back pain in this demographic to help restore their overall health and wellness.

Fortunately, it is not usually a sign of a serious condition. However, it is critical to determine whether your child’s back pain necessitates a visit to a paediatric spine expert. Here are some reasons why you should be concerned about your child’s back pain.


Back muscle pain

By far the most prevalent cause of back pain in children and adolescents is muscular back discomfort. Muscle and ligament strains, overuse injuries, and posture issues are all examples of injuries [1].

X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and other imaging procedures are frequently ineffective in identifying muscular back discomfort. These tests may not be necessary unless the child exhibits other troubling signs.

Rest is frequently effective for muscular back discomfort. Many treatments, such as physical therapy, chiropractic treatment, stretching programs, yoga, or massage treatment, may also provide short-term relief.


Fractures caused by stress

Stress fractures in the spine are possible. These stress fractures are most common in adolescents. They may not even recognise they have been hurt because evident signs can take time to appear. The most common type of spinal stress fracture is spondylolysis, which is a bone injury in the back of the spinal column. This injury is more common in adolescents who participate in sports that require repeated hyperextension (bending backward), such as gymnasts and divers.

When a stress fracture occurs on both sides of the spinal column, the spine might become unstable. This disorder, known as spondylolisthesis or “spinal slide,” can create alignment issues inside the vertebrae (backbones). Stress fractures can be frightening for both children and parents since they rarely heal. They can produce symptoms throughout adolescence and early adulthood.

Surgery is usually reserved for people who have chronic pain that does not go away despite trying a variety of different treatments for months. Children who have serious slips that cause a loss of spinal alignment may also require surgery.


Disc issues

A spinal disc herniation occurs when the soft cushion between two vertebrae ruptures. This disc material is pushed out of its natural place, where it might rub against the nerves and spinal cord.

Disc herniations in children are significantly less prevalent than in adults, although they can occur and cause serious symptoms. In youngsters, the disc material is generally supple and elastic, indicating that it can withstand exceptional forces on the spine. The disc loses elasticity and pliability as it ages, making it more prone to rupture.



Spinal infections, which are common in young children and adolescents, can cause vague symptoms of malaise (a general feeling of being unwell), low-grade fevers, and back pain [2].

Infections of the spinal bone or discs can be difficult to diagnose. Antibiotics are typically used to treat infections, which are normally administered intravenously (through an IV), at least until the infection begins to improve.


Anomalies in alignment

Spinal alignment issues can result in a visible deformity as well as back pain. However, it should be noted that, while more minor malformations may be visible, they rarely cause pain.

Only the most severe abnormalities are candidates for surgery. Even after surgery, the spinal deformity may linger since a full spinal correction may cause more complications than a partial one.

Back discomfort is becoming more common in children and teenagers, particularly those who participate in sports, carry heavy backpacks to school, or have greater body weight.

The most common cause is a muscular injury, such as a back muscle strain. This type of pain usually improves with rest. Stress fractures and disc herniations can also cause chronic back pain, but surgery is rarely required.

Back pain can be caused by serious illnesses such as spinal infection, which is treated with antibiotics, or tumors, which are frequently treated with surgery.



1. Patel DR, Kinsella E. Evaluation and management of lower back pain in young athletes. Transl Pediatr. 2017 Jul;6(3):225-235.

2. Tyagi R. Spinal infections in children: A review. J Orthop. 2016 Dec;13(4):254-8.


Author Bio:

John Adams is a paralegal who writes about widespread legal and social issues. He helps readers overcome challenges and solve many personal problems the smart way, rather than the hard way. He aims to reach out to individuals who are unaware of their legal rights, and make the world a better place.