The prevalence of children and adolescents with back pain is growing, and while the exact reason is not always clear one major issue seems to be relatively constant – poor posture.
There are many stressors from school furniture and heavy backpacks to strenuous physical activity or lack thereof and the increased use of computers and tablets. The Western lifestyle along with increased time spent sedentary means that at the most crucial time in a child’s development the spine is exposed to unnatural stress and strain for prolonged periods of time.
After a full day of sitting at desks and carrying heavy backpacks long distances, many children experienced some form of musculoskeletal pain: 58% had neck pain, 69.3% had shoulder pain, 74.4% had upper back pain, 81.7% had low-back pain, 55.1% had knee pain, and 60.9% had finger and wrist pain.
24% of children aged 11-14 have reported some form of lower back pain.
More concerning is that quarter of children who have low back pain are likely to go on experiencing this pain through adolescence and to develop chronic back pain as adults.
So how does chiropractic for children work?
Irrespective of what the cause of a child’s low back pain is, paramount is always ensuring good postural development. By assessing muscle control, balance, hand/eye coordination and spinal alignment we can gather valuable information about how the brain interacts with the body and work on areas that need ‘boosting’. By breaking bad habits at a young age, we can avoid chronic pain patterns that can continue into adulthood causing life long pain and injury
Research supports chiropractic adjustments as a safe and effective way to treat children with low back pain. Researchers have concluded that the combination of physical conditioning and manual therapy is the most effective treatment for low back pain in children and adolescents.
62% of paediatric patients had substantial reductions in back pain after receiving chiropractic adjustments.
There are a number of ways you can manage and prevent back pain in your children. Top of the list is to set restrictions on ‘screen time’ and encourage time outdoors running around and exploring. Studies have shown that children who exercise report happier moods and fewer depression symptoms than kids who are less active.
References, and further reading;
- Calvo-Muñoz I, et al. Physical therapy treatments for low back pain in children and adolescents: a meta-analysis. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2013;14(55):1-11
- Calvo-Munoz I, Gomez-Conesa A, Sanchez-Meca J. Prevalence of low back pain in children and adolescents: a meta-analysis. BMC Pediatrics 2013;13(14)
- Habybabady R, et al. Efficacy and impact of back care education on knowledge and behaviour of elementary schoolchildren. J of Pak Med Assoc 2012;62(6):580-4
- Hayden Ja, Mior SA, Verhoef MJ. Evaluation of chiropractic management of pediatric patients with low back pain: a prospective cohort study. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2003;26(1):1-8
- Jones GT, Macfarlane GJ. Predicting persistent low back pain in schoolchildren: a prospective cohort study. Arthritis Rheum.2009;61(10):1359.
- King S, et al. The epidemiology of chronic pain in children and adolescents revisited: A systematic review. Pain 2011;152:2729-2738.