Spine pain isn’t limited when it comes to who may be affected by it. While older adults are statistically more likely to experience back-related aches and pains, children and teens can also have issues with this type of discomfort. Fortunately, most instances of back pain in younger patients are minor or not serious enough to require treatment such as alternatives to spinal fusion. Los Angeles parents should be aware of a fairly substantial recent study that was conducted by a New York hospital to develop a better idea of how children experience spinal pain. Here’s a closer look at the results.
The study involved a survey of more than 4,000 children and teens between the ages of 10 and 18. Nearly 34 percent of the young respondents reported experiencing some type of back pain within the past year.
The results also showed the odds of experiencing spine-related pain increased as kids got older. Specifically, with each additional year of age, children were roughly 4 percent more likely to have issues with spine-related discomfort. Additionally, as children aged, so did their odds of seeking active treatment for their symptoms.
Nearly 41 percent of participants reported seeking active treatments for their spinal pain. Such efforts typically involve:
• Therapeutic exercises
• Targeted stretches
• Other participatory forms of physical therapy
Speaking of physical therapy, this was the most common treatment strategy reported by the children and teens surveyed. This is often the case with most instances of spinal pain once a diagnosis has been made, regardless of age.
Fewer than 2 percent of the survey respondents reported needing surgery or injections for their discomfort. This is in line with other research that suggests spinal surgery isn’t as likely to be necessary or recommended for younger patients.
Having a higher body mass index, or BMI, increased the odds that the children surveyed had spinal spine within the previous year. Also, having no insurance at all or government insurance was linked to whether or not active treatment was sought for back pain.
The results are significant in that they show spinal pain is more common in children than what’s normally assumed to be the case. This could be due to the fact that children tend to be more involved in sports and other activities that stress the spine. However, other factors, such as poor posture during frequent device usage, could have played a role in the findings as well. It’s also concerning that insurance seems to be a determining factor in whether or not care is sought.
The one bright spot with children and spine-related discomfort is that younger patients tend to respond better to treatment. If you have a child or teenager complaining about back or neck pain, see what his or her regular doctor or a spine specialist has to say. Even if it’s nothing too serious, it’s best to get a handle on spinal pain sooner rather than later.
Back pain occurs in every age group, and children are no exception. If your child is experiencing severe or prolonged back pain, consult a doctor or Los Angeles spine surgeon for prompt diagnosis and treatment. The industry-leading spinal health specialists at The Spine Institute have years of experience treating every kind of back and neck pain, so call one of our friendly representatives today at 310-828-7757 to schedule a personal consultation.