Despite a natural inclination to be fairly resistant to chronic aches and pains, adolescents and teens are frequently reporting some degree of lingering back pain. Part of the reason for this trend may be due to the increasingly sedentary lifestyle choices young people make. In the following article, Los Angeles spine surgeons explain how the decisions children make can contribute to back pain.
1. Weaker Supporting Muscles
A general lack of regular exercise gradually weakens muscles that support the spine, including the abdominal and iliopsoas muscles and the obliques, or side muscles. Weaker supporting muscles can place added strain on the joints and bones of the spine and affect posture.
2. Increased Susceptibility to Injury
Appropriately 40 percent of schools have cut back on both physical education and recess. Consequently, children are more likely to sustain an injury when muscles aren’t conditioned to absorb the impact. A study of more than 300 children with lower back pain found those who had some type of physical therapy reported a greater reduction in pain than those who did not receive therapy.
3. Excess Weight
A sedentary lifestyle often means an increase in weight beyond what’s ideal for a child’s height. Excess weight also means added pressure on the spine, which can throw off posture and affect bone growth. As a result, some children may develop hyperlordosis, a condition where a slight spinal arch forms.
4. Unhealthy Eating Habits
Being consistently inactive tends to translate into making unhealthy eating choices. Children in particular need to maintain an optimal balance of essential nutrients like calcium, iron, and folate to promote muscle strength and spine health.
Scoliosis and other structural causes of back pain in children are rare. Most instances of back-related aches in younger patients are related to muscle strain. Preventative measures can be as simple as encouraging kids to participate in some type of physical activity for at least an hour a day.
If you notice your child is experiencing chronic back pain, it’s best to intervene as soon as possible. At The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration, our team can diagnose your child’s condition and recommend the appropriate actions. We specialize in minimally invasive procedures and spinal fusion alternatives that can help people of all ages work toward a pain-free life. Give our office a call today at 310-828-7757 to learn more.