Back Pain in Teens: Causes, Symptoms and Remedies

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Back pain in teens nowadays is very common. The causes of back pain are many, out of which some are self-inflicted while other causes include accidents, muscle strains and sports injuries. During Teenage, children are more active and aggressive in their activities and sports so there are more chances of injury to the soft tissues in spine, bone and nerve. Irrespective of the numerous causes of back pain in teens, they share the same symptoms.

Symptoms and Remedies for Back Pain in Teens

back pain in teens

CAUSES:

Back pain in teens falls into 3 categories:

  • Muscular ,  Bone related, and  Discogenic

1.Muscle-Related Pain

Mostly, back pain in teenagers is thought to arise from within the muscles.

This type of pain tends to be localized.

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Factors that contribute to muscle-related back pain are:-

  • Carrying heavy weight
  • Incorrect sports equipment like improper bicycle seat positioning
  • Psychosocial distress, anxiety and depression

2.Bone Related Pain

Bone-related back pain generally occurs at the centre of the spine and it often increases by extension (backward bending).

Common causes of bone-related back pain are:-

  • Spondylolysis
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis
  • Scheuermann’s Disease / Juvenile Kyphosis

3.Disc Related Pain

This type of back pain is radiating type and is usually exacerbated by flexion.

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Risk factors for disc herniation include:-

  • Acute trauma
  • A family history of disc herniation
  • Obesity
  • Sporting activities like wrestling, weightlifting, gymnastics and collision sports.

OTHER CAUSES:

1. Poor Posture – Continuously sitting for a long time with incorrect posture can cause back pain in teenagers. Also, poor sleeping posture can cause back pain. Working for long hours on the computer puts a strain on shoulder muscles and on entire spine and can result in back pain.

2.Heavy Schoolbags – This is one of the biggest cause of back pain in teens as they carry an unnecessary load on their young bodies.

3.Obesity Excess body weight can put pressure or strain on the back leading to pain.

4.Puberty –  Back pain in females during puberty is more common than in males. Back pain in girls is a symptom of various anatomical changes that occur during this time.

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5.StressMost of the teens experience stress due to peer pressure, family issues, troubles at school etc. Stress can lead to depression, fatigue and insomnia and all these may lead to back pain in teens.

6.Tumour – Spinal tumour induced back pain is a rare occurrence.

7.Infection – Infections causing back pain in teens include vertebral osteomyelitis, epidural abscess and non-spinal infections like endocarditis etc.

SYMPTOMS:

There are various causes of teen back pain but the symptoms are quite similar.

Some of the common symptoms include:

  • Persistent ache or stiffness anywhere in the back or along the spine from the base of neck to tailbone.
  • Shooting or localized pain in the neck, upper back or lower back.
  • Difficulty in standing, sleeping or bending.

REMEDIES:

The treatment for back pain may vary according to the severity of the condition.

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1.REST: Adequate rest is usually needed for relief in back pain.

2.USE OF HEAT AND ICE: Use of ice packs or hot water bags on the affected area relieves the symptoms of back pain in case the pain is light.

3.PHYSIOTHERAPY: Physiotherapy treatment is considered to be effective in treating back pain in teens.

This therapy includes back education that involves posture training and body awareness training, exercises like stretching, posture correction exercises, balance exercises etc, manual therapy that includes massage and mobilization and therapeutic physical conditioning i.e general fitness.

A combination of general fitness and manual therapy is considered to be the most effective physiotherapy treatments for teenagers with back pain.

4.MEDICATIONS: Generally doctors prescribe over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers such as Advil. Other medications include muscle relaxants, ointments and injections depending on the cause and severity of back pain. Make sure that OTC drugs should not be taken without doctors approval.

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5.SURGERY: In rare cases such as in disc fractures or problem in spine curve, surgery is the only treatment available to relieve back pain.

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