It’s not just adults who experience back pain. Recent research, presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, found that one-third of the 3,669 children and teens surveyed for the study reported having some form of back pain. Here’s what that may mean for your child.

Typically thought of as an issue just for adults, this study shows that back pain can affect almost anyone of any age. If you’re wondering whether your child is at risk or not, the researchers found that the age and increased weight raised the likelihood of a study participant having back pain. Children and teens who played a sport were also more likely to have this type of pain, too.

photo: ambermb via Pixabay

Of the more than 3,600 children and teens ages 10 through 18, over 79 percent played a sport or engaged in physical activity. While all of these children didn’t report having back pain, the researchers did find that sports participation increased the risk. Most at risk were teenagers who played junior varsity or varsity sports—possibly linking advanced athletic play with a higher incidence of back injury.

Along with sports, carrying backpacks also factored into the child-back pain equation. The children and teens who used two straps to carry their packs were least likely to have back pain. But participants who used two straps and a waistband, one strap or rolling backpacks experienced more pain. These results are somewhat of a chicken or the egg issue. It’s not known whether the two-strap and waistband combo or rolling pack caused more back pain or those students used these options because they already had pain.

So what can you do if your child experiences back pain? The AAOS recommends taking your child to the doctor to evaluate the issue—especially if the pain gets worse or lasts for several days.

—Erica Loop



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