Back Pain in the Young Child and Adolescent

Michael Caine
Michael Caine
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Back pain is a common complaint among children and adolescents. It can be caused by a number of different factors, including injury, poor posture, and underlying medical conditions. In most cases, back pain will improve with rest, ice, and over-the-counter pain medications. However, if the pain persists or worsens, it may be a sign of a more serious condition and should be evaluated by a doctor. Searching for medical advice on time can be crucial. Here is how to recognize the issue and know when to turn to a doctor.


There are many different causes of back pain in children and adolescents. Injury is one of the most common causes, especially in young athletes. This can occur from a fall, sports, or car accident. Back pain may also be caused by overuse injuries, such as from playing a musical instrument or participating in a sport.

Poor posture can also lead to back pain, especially if it is not corrected early on. Children who spend a lot of time hunched over phones, tablets, and computers are at risk of developing poor posture and subsequent back pain. Additionally, some medical conditions can cause back pain. These include scoliosis, arthritis, and kidney stones.


The symptoms of back pain can vary depending on the cause. However, pain is the most common symptom. This pain may be dull and achy or sharp and throbbing. It may also radiate down into the legs or worsen with movement. Other symptoms may include muscle spasms, stiffness, and tenderness.

Spasms are involuntary muscle contractions that can be painful. They often occur in response to an injury or underlying medical condition. Stiffness is a common symptom of arthritis and can make it difficult to move the affected joint. Tenderness may be present if there is inflammation or muscle spasm.

When to see a doctor

Most cases of back pain will improve with home treatment. However, there are some signs that indicate when it is time to see a doctor. These include pain that persists for more than a week, pain that is severe or gets worse with movement, and pain that radiates down into the legs.

Additionally, any child with a history of cancer or other chronic medical condition should be seen by a doctor if they develop back pain.


The diagnosis of back pain begins with a medical history and physical examination. Your child’s doctor will ask about the symptoms, how long they have been present, and what makes them worse. They will also ask about any other medical conditions your child has and any medications they are taking.

A physical examination will be performed to assess your child’s range of motion, muscle strength, and posture. Imaging tests, such as x-rays or MRIs, may be ordered if the cause of the back pain is unclear.


The treatment for back pain will vary depending on the cause. In most cases, home care measures are all that is needed. These include rest, ice, and over-the-counter pain medications. For more severe cases, your child’s doctor may prescribe stronger pain medication or refer you to a specialist.

For instance, proper scoliosis treatment requires a team approach that may include physical therapy, bracing, and in some cases, surgery. Children with arthritis may need medication to control the pain and inflammation. Those with kidney stones may need medication or surgery to remove the stone.


There are some measures that can be taken to prevent back pain in children and adolescents. These include maintaining good posture, participating in regular exercise, and using proper technique when playing sports or musical instruments. It is important to teach children how to lift properly to avoid overuse injuries.

Prevention is especially important for those at risk for developing back pain. This includes children with scoliosis, arthritis, and kidney stones. These children should be followed closely by their doctor and receive prompt treatment if back pain develops.


Unfortunately, back pain is a common problem in children and adolescents. However, in most cases, it can be treated with simple home care measures. Those at risk for developing back pain should be followed closely by their doctor to ensure early diagnosis and treatment.

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