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The Hood Magazine

Back Pain in Children: A Smooth Road to Recovery

Sep 25, 2017 09:33AM ● By The Hood Magazine

By: Dr. Brett Fischer, PT, DPT, SCS, ATC

Unfortunately, kids have a high rate of experiencing back pain as well – anywhere from 10-66 percent, depending on age and a multitude of other factors. Back pain as a youngster increases with age and activity level and is more common in girls.

While back pain experienced in adulthood is less often a serious medical problem, in children, it can sometimes represent more serious problems like infection, fracture, or problems with the disc or nerves. While it’s important to ensure there are no major problems, most of these ailments can be treated with a period of rest followed by a gradual return back to normal activity along with some specific exercise. The “rest” period may be the most challenging for the patient. However, for the parent, the gradual return to activity can cause the most anxiety. It’s difficult to know:

·         Are they going back to things too fast?

·         How long until she can run or carry a backpack?

·         Does it fit correctly?

·         What things can he do at practice?

·         How do we know if this activity is too much?

This is where your physical therapist (PT) can help. Physical therapists are trained to spot serious problems and refer you back to a physician for further testing if needed. Along with prescribing individual exercise programs, they are uniquely qualified to teach you which aches or pains are normal and which ones may not be.

Be aware of back pain in kids. It’s a real thing. Kids can sometimes have a difficult time communicating their feelings, which makes it hard to decide if your child’s pain warrants seeking medical attention. Look for signs of abnormal discomfort. And don’t be afraid to seek out your PT to help them (and you) through the pain.


1.      Rubin Dl. Epidemiology and Risk Factors for Spine Pain. Neurol Clin. 2007; May;25(2):353-71.

2.      Calvo-Munoz I, Gomez-Conesa A, Sanchez-Meca J. Prevalence of low back pain in children and adolescents: a meta-analysis. BMC Pediatr. 2013; 13:14.