Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Growing Epidemic Of Low Back Pain In Children

By Brenda Slovin

More and more children are suffering from back pain. What’s causing this, and is it such a grand idea to keep our children on so much medication to better handle their pain?

In years past, low back pain was thought to be a malady afflicting only the elderly. Well, it’s not just your granddad’s disorder any longer. Once considered a rare pediatric condition, low back pain in children has become a growing concern among many in the medical community.

Children’s skeletal structures are in a continual growth state until late adolescence. Combined with the stress of sports activities including contact sports, the incidence of low back pain in children is skyrocketing. In a recent study, it was determined that low back pain was responsible for approximately 23% of most school absenteeism, and when sports injuries were thrown into the mix, that number jumped to 29%. Even more surprising, researchers discovered that in 75% of reported cases, childhood low back pain triggered depression and other psychological problems. This constitutes a serious concern that demands the attention of parents and health care providers alike.

What Causes Low Back Pain In Children?

It seems that many of the same health issues that initiate low back pain in adults, such as poor posture, misalignment of vertebrae, trauma, emotional stress and sports injuries, have the same affect on children. Add to these issues the fact that most school-age children carry backpacks that weigh 10-20% of their body weight, and you have a recipe for life-long health concerns and back pain.

Emotional stress is also an important factor to consider. Adolescents are subject to wildly varying emotions sometimes compared to a rollercoaster ride. It can be terrifying and exhilarating at the same time; filled with soaring, sky-high excitement only to suddenly plummet into a downward spiral. Interestingly, these rollercoaster emotions have been associated with lower back pain. Research in England involving children between the ages of 11 and 14 revealed that children with higher levels of psychological and social difficulties are much more likely to experience low back pain than their peers.

The Good News Is That Chiropractic Can Help

When spinal vertebrae become misaligned, whether in an adult or in a child, the diagnosis is called vertebral subluxation. This may sound like a frightening medical condition, but it is one that a professional chiropractic doctor can address with great success. However, when left untreated, vertebral subluxation can lead to frequent earaches, headaches, infant colic, neck pain and carpel tunnel syndrome.

Chiropractic care also addresses the nervous system which, among a myriad of other miraculous functions, governs the way in which our bodies react physically to stress. Chiropractic adjustments actually help your body release pent-up stress, relieving tight muscles, tendons and ligaments, and helping to prevent low back pain.

Chiropractic treatment is a wonderful, highly effective way to enjoy natural relief of back pain. Your child’s chiropractor will painlessly adjust the vertebral column in order to correct any vertebral misalignment, without potentially harmful drugs or invasive surgery. There is no recovery time; instead, your child will most likely experience an immediate relief from pain and restoration of movement. Additionally, your chiropractor can recommend exercises to relieve low back pain.

What Are The Three D’s, And Is Your Child At Risk?

DDD, or degenerative disc disease, is actually a form of arthritis and has been proven to be a common cause of lower back and leg pain in children. Surprisingly, DDD has even been diagnosed in infants. And yet, degenerative disc disease is not typically identified by traditional medical practitioners. Rather, highly-skilled and well-trained chiropractic doctors are leading the way into this new medical frontier.

Degenerative disc disease sounds like a progressive, very frightening disease that could certainly alarm any parent, so here is a brief explanation of DDD. Changes in the water and protein content of the body’s cartilage results in weaker, more fragile and thin cartilage. This more typically occurs as we get older. Now, because both the discs and the joints that stack the vertebrae are partly composed of cartilage, these areas are, unfortunately, subject to degenerative changes. The deterioration of the disc between the vertebrae is referred to as degenerative disc disease, and makes the disc tissue more susceptible to herniation.

Natural Remedies For Degenerative Disc Disease Are Available

The important thing to remember is that chiropractic care offers you and your child gentle, effective treatment of degenerative disc disease. Early detection and treatment is key to optimum recovery, however. Research at St. Louis University led by Francis W. Smith, MD revealed that degenerative changes in the spines of pediatric study participants occurred much earlier than previously suspected, creating a predisposition to muscle and muscle and ligament sprains and strains, as well as arthritis of the spinal joints.

DDD is not always accompanied by lower back or leg pain, so the wisest course of action is to seek preventative chiropractic care for you and your children. Further, Dr. Smith advises that degenerative disc disease preventative care should begin prior to puberty.

Be sure to ask your chiropractic doctor about symptoms of degenerative disc disease and what treatments are available.

Be Proactive - Protect Your Child’s Health

A wealth of scientific research confirms that chiropractic care provides safe, effective, and drug-free relief from back and neck pain … regardless of the cause. So if your child complains of low back pain, if you notice a difference in the way he walks, stands or sits, if your child appears overly clumsy or if you suspect a sport-related trauma, do not ignore these symptoms. Protect your child’s physical and emotional health by contacting a chiropractic care professional today.


  1. Have you seen the size of those backpacks they carry?

  2. I hate that they are starting out with back troubles. Imagine how they will be when they are 70!