Back pain is more common in children. Most of the time, the pain is caused by muscle strain and will disappear on its own. However, in some cases, back pain in children can be a symptom of a more serious disorder, so early diagnosis and treatments are important.
Below are the common signs and symptoms of back pain in children, how you can help, and when see a specialist.
Symptoms of back pain
- Back pain is a feeling of discomfort in the back.
- It can be short-term pain or long-lasting pain.
- It can be slow or heavy. It can stay in the middle of the back or travel to other areas such as the arms or legs.
- Sometimes it can keep your baby up at night
- Back pain can affect a child’s ability to play or do PE.
- Sometimes you can identify activities that make the pain worse, such as lifting and walking, or that make it better, such as resting. Sometimes the pain level changes for no apparent reason.
- You or your child may have a high temperature (fever), weakness, insomnia, pins and needles, or other bowel or urinary symptoms.
- It can affect how they walk, bend, and move.
- You can find a sensitive area in the middle of his back.
- You can also notice that their backs start to twist or curve.
Causes of back pain
While a single incident can cause a sudden spinal injury, cases of nagging, persistent back pain appear to be caused by a number of factors acting in combination.
Poor posture can further contribute to back pain. A child with a sore back may avoid sports activities, and the lack of movement may then cause other problems.
Parents and caregivers can reduce the problems associated with school bags by making sure their children have appropriately sized and heavy-duty bags.
School bag risk factors
Pain factors associated with school bags:
- bag with more than 10 percent of its weight
- holding her bag and her belt in one hand
- carrying a bag on one shoulder
- an improperly packed bag
- wrong bag
- Buy the right bag
Your child should have a bag, not a regular bag with a handle.
- Although some schools require the use of a special bag, make sure it meets the following guidelines:
- Look for bags approved by Australian professional bodies such as the Australian Physiotherapy Association or the Australian Criminology Association.
- Don’t try to save money by buying the biggest bag – make sure it fits your child.
- Choose a bag with a built-in frame or adjustable strap so that the weight of the bag rests on your child’s hips rather than their shoulders and back.
- Make sure the shoulder straps are adjustable and the back of the bag is fitted for comfort.
- To help with packing, make sure the bag has several separate compartments.
- Choose canvas bags instead of leather bags, as they are usually lighter.
- Take your child with you when you buy a bag. This will help you make sure it fits and your baby likes it. (If your preferred style is “cool,” your child can compensate by carrying her bag in a “cool” way, such as over one shoulder.)
- Using a wheeled carrier bag instead of a backpack can help prevent or reduce the problem of back pain.
- Pack the right bags
Some more suggestions are:
- Make sure the bag weighs less than 10 percent of the child’s body weight – for example, a 40 kg baby bag should carry less than 4 kg. Ideally, the child in this example should only carry 2-3 kg of books.
- If your child is expected to bring books and other items above this weight recommendation, check with the school if this is necessary. If so, consider a second set of books to keep at home or access to electronic versions.
- Make sure the items do not move during transit, as this can disturb the baby’s center of gravity. Use part of the bag.
- The method of carrying and carrying the bag is correct
To reduce the risk of injury to your child when using the carrier:
- Adjust the shoulder straps so that the bottom of the bag is above your child’s waist – don’t let them wear the bag under their lips.
- Make sure the bag is positioned correctly – it should follow the shape of the child’s back without hanging over the shoulder.
Teach your child:
- Lift the bag with a straight back, using the thigh muscles
- He carried the bag in both hands and held it close to his body
- Slide from one shoulder strap and then the other.
- Check if the child has to bend more to carry the load – if so, the bag is too heavy, misplaced or packed incorrectly.
- Make sure you carry your backpack on one shoulder to prevent back pain and injury.
- Prevention of back pain in children
Suggestions for reducing spinal stress include:
- Always use seat belts in prams, strollers and tables to reduce the risk of falling for young children.
- To make a bed, put a blanket around the furniture area of the house.
- Encourage the habit of “walking and stretching” to break when doing housework, as sitting for long periods can tire the muscles.
- Limit TV and computer time.
- Learn how to sit on a chair. That means sitting up straight and quad down instead of sitting.
- Consider getting them an ergonomic chair to improve their posture when doing housework.
- Emphasize the importance of straight posture and consistent stretching of strong back and core muscles.
How parents can help their child to overcome this pain
- Make your child sit or lie down in the most comfortable position and reduce the child’s pain. Your child can try one of these activities at bedtime.
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and a large pillow.
- Lie down with both legs on a sofa or chair.
- Bend your knees and hips to the side, with a pillow between your legs.
- If the pain does not worsen, sleep on your stomach.
- Bed rest can help relieve pain at first, but delay healing. Avoid the sleeping area after the first day.
- Reposition your baby every 30 minutes. If your child has to sit for a long period of time, try to take a break from sitting. Ask your child to stand up and move around or lie down in a comfortable position.
- Try using a heating pad on low or medium for 15-20 minutes every 2 or 3 hours.
- Try a warm bath instead of a session with a heating pad.
- You can also try an ice pack on your child’s back for 10-15 minutes at a time. Place a thin cloth between the ice pack and the baby’s skin.
- Be safe with medication. Give pain medication exactly as directed.
- If your child does not take prescription pain medication, ask the doctor if your child can take over-the-counter pain medication.
- Take your child for short walks several times a day. Your child may start walking for 5 to 10 minutes, 3 to 4 times a day, and then start walking for longer. Your baby should stick to flat surfaces and avoid hills and stairs until your baby’s back is better.
- Return your child to work as soon as possible. Long vacations without work are usually not good for a child’s back.