24-Hour Crisis Hotline: (877)SAFEGBC or (877)723-3422 Mental Health & Substance Abuse Issues

6502 Nursery Drive, Suite 100
Victoria, TX 77904
(361)575-0611
(800)421-8825

Medical Disorders
Resources
Basic InformationLookupsLatest News
AHA News: Emphysema May Raise Risk of Ruptured AneurysmsNew Facial Bone Might Someday Be Grown From the Patient's RibWhat Works Best for Women Struggling With a Leaky Bladder?Your Apple Watch Might Help Spot a Dangerous Irregular HeartbeatDocs Back Away From Low-Dose Aspirin for Heart Attack PreventionAHA News: Overweight Kids at Higher Risk for Blood Clots as AdultsEbola Survivors Continue to Suffer Years After RecoveryFewer Boys Are Suffering Head Injuries, But Rate Rises for GirlsAHA News: Black Woman in Their 50s Face Especially High Stroke RiskNew Drug Could Help Those With Tough-to-Treat CholesterolWhen Can Kids Return to Play After a Concussion?Need to Be Vaccinated? Try Your Local PharmacyOne-Third of U.S. Kids Have Back Pain, Study SaysBlacks, Hispanics Bear Burden of Air Pollution: StudyChickens Help Scientists Pinpoint Origin of Rare, Deadly VirusDry Eye and Migraines Might Be Linked: StudySkin Fungi May Be Tied to Bowel DiseaseYo-Yo Dieting Can Take a Toll on Your HeartAHA News: Opioid Meds Pose Danger to Kidney Disease PatientsHealth Tip: UTI Warning SignsStaph Infections Drop, but Levels Still Worry U.S. Health OfficialsTreatment May Allow Allergic Kids to Eat Eggs Safely: StudyAcne Drug Accutane May Not Depress Mood After AllHealth Tip: Preventing Carpal TunnelMajor Flooding Can Bring Skin Infection DangersSmall Trial Provides New Hope Against Parkinson's DiseaseIs Your Hand Pain Arthritis, Carpal Tunnel or Something Else?California Parents Are Getting Around Vaccine Law, Fueling Measles OutbreaksSeniors With UTIs Need Antibiotics ASAP, Study SaysWhy Do Some Kids With Eczema Develop Food Allergies?High-Fiber Diet May Help Gut 'Microbiome' Battle MelanomaTick Bites More Likely to Cause Red Meat Allergy Than ThoughtWalking, Not Riding, Boosts Health in Golfers With Knee WoesIs At-Home Stool Test a Viable Alternative to Colonoscopy?After Peanut Allergy Rx, Eating Small Bits of Peanut Might Help: StudyA Hard Look at Smoking's Effect on VisionPeanut Allergy Patch Shows Middling Results in TrialToxins in Home Furnishings Can Be Passed on to KidsKratom-Related Poisonings Are Soaring, Study FindsFDA Aims to Strengthen Sunscreen RulesBrain Condition CTE Seen in H.S. Football Players: StudyPregnant Women Should Delay Gallbladder Surgery, Study FindsGut Microbes May Help Drive Lupus, Study FindsMost Hip, Knee Replacements Last Decades, Study FindsAHA News: Living Near Convenience Stores Could Raise Risk of Artery-Clogging ConditionPossible Parkinson's 'Pandemic' Looms: Report'Apple-Shaped' Body? 'Pear-Shaped'? Your Genes May TellProtect Your Aging Eyes From Macular DegenerationKidney Failure Patients Face Higher Risk of Cancer DeathHow Inactivity and Junk Food Can Harm Your Brain
Questions and AnswersLinks
Related Topics

Diabetes

One-Third of U.S. Kids Have Back Pain, Study Says

HealthDay News
by By Maureen Salamon
HealthDay Reporter
Updated: Mar 12th 2019

new article illustration

TUESDAY, March 12, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- As American kids pack on the pounds, the number of those with back pain is on the rise.

One in three between the ages of 10 and 18 said they had backaches in the past year, according to a survey of about 3,700 youngsters. The incidence rose along with kids' age and weight and was higher among those who play competitive sports.

Though many people probably associate back pain with older people, the orthopedic surgeon who led the study was not surprised by his findings.

"We see a lot of kids who have pain from overuse injuries or joint pain from playing sports," said Dr. Peter Fabricant, who treats pediatric patients at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City. "Of these kids who had back pain, very few actually required any sort of medical intervention. Most didn't need treatment at all."

About 80 percent of adults suffer from lower back pain at some time, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

But this is the first time the extent of back pain among children has been estimated on nationwide scale, the authors said. The youngsters surveyed were equally split by age and gender.

On average, those who reported back pain weighed more and had higher body mass indexes, or BMIs. (BMI is a measure of body fat based on height and weight.)

Back pain was more common among girls than boys (38 percent to 29 percent). And the percentage reporting back pain rose about 4 percent with each year of increasing age, according to the authors. Most often, pain affected the lower back.

Nearly half said they hurt in the evenings and more than 15 percent said back pain interrupted their sleep. Only 41 percent sought treatment, and most who did had physical therapy.

Participation in competitive sports was strongly linked to back pain, with junior varsity and varsity athletes experiencing it more often than younger or recreational players. Most survey participants were active, with basketball the most commonly played sport, followed by dance, baseball, football and soccer.

Another contributor to kids' back pain is the backpacks they use to tote their stuff, researchers said. Those who used one strap to carry their packs reported significantly more back pain than did those who used both straps.

Those who used rolling backpacks reported back pain the most often. Fabricant said it wasn't clear whether pain prompted their use of the rolling packs or whether the rolling packs contributed to their pain.

While long-term pain prospects are unclear, Fabricant said "it would certainly stand to reason" that kids who experience backaches would be more likely to do so as adults.

Dr. Henock Wolde-Semait is a pediatric orthopedist at NYU Winthrop Hospital in Mineola, N.Y., who reviewed the findings. He said the results mirror what he sees in his own practice.

"Lots of kids have back pain for various reasons. It seems like it's on the rise," he said.

"The majority of them do well [without surgical treatment], which is why in the past this may have been overlooked or taken for granted," Wolde-Semait added.

Fabricant suggested parents urge their kids to avoid any sport or activity related to their back pain. Physical therapy may help by stretching and strengthening key muscles, he said, and it's wise to avoid carrying backpacks on only one shoulder.

Wolde-Semait said excessive screen time may also play a role in kids' back pain. He said youngsters should seek "moderation in every aspect."

The study is to be presented March 12 at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons' annual meeting, in Las Vegas. Research presented at meetings is typically considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

More information

Harvard Health offers tips for a pain-free back.