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Back pain in Children

Just like adults, children can experience back pain too. With the most common cause being muscle strains, which can arise from injury, overstrain and posture.

To make identifying the cause of your child’s back pain easier we’ve broken down common areas where back pain can occur and what to look for.

School bags

Does your child’s bag fit correctly and is it being worn correctly?

Signs of an ill-fitting or heavy backpack include –

· Change in posture

· Pain

· Numbness/ Tingling in the arms

· Skin marks from straps

· Struggle putting bag on and taking off

What to look for?

· Contents of backpack weight = 10% of body weight

· Don’t wear your backpack if you don’t need to

· Wear backpack on both shoulders and with body strap if applicable

· Lift bag onto back instead of swinging

· Only carry what you need

· Pack heavy items first

· Check strap aren’t too tight or too loose

Screen time

Use of hand held devices, laptops, TVs and games consoles results in the body being put in postures that put excessive strain on the muscles of the neck and back, leading to pain.

Signs of poor tech use posture;

· Slumping

· Hunched over device

· Long periods with no change in posture

What to look for?

· Limiting prolonged screen time

· Mediating breaks

· Device holders and supports to correct posture

· Being the example

Inactivity - Exercise

An active lifestyle carries many health benefits, for children this includes reduced likelihood of low back pain, but can also lead to overuse and overstrain injuries.

What are the benefits of exercise?

· Educates a healthy lifestyle

· Strengthens bones and muscles

· Reduce risk of obesity

· Opportunity to socialise

· Improved concentration

How can I get my child active?

· Encourage active play

· Lead by example and get involved

· Family activities – swimming, walking, cycling

If your child is injured from exercise allow adequate rest for recovery. If you need further advice on this speak to your Osteopath.

Mattress and Pillow

Like adults sleeping on a comfortable bed with good support will help to prevent neck and back pain.

What to look for?

· Introduce a pillow around age 2

· Pillow should not change spine position

· Pillow height for primary sleep position

· Back sleeping is most recommended for babies through to older children

· Get your child involved in picking mattress firmness

When can an Osteopath help with back pain?

Osteopathic treatment is safe and effective for Children and can be beneficial in the recovery of back pain as well as other injuries and growth related aches and pains. Often growth can cause a disturbance to our bodies function whilst your child adapts. Cranial Osteopathy can be used in the treatment of all ages, but particularly useful in babies and younger children where more structural based approaches are not suitable.

When you should worry about back pain?

If your child is...

· Experiencing leg pain, numbness or weakness

· The pain is keeping them up at night

· Their symptoms persist for several weeks

· The pain is constant

· They’re experiencing symptoms of generalised illness

If your child is showing these signs or is very young it is important to seek advice. This can be done by calling 111 or contacting your GP.

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