Most people assume that back pain only affects older adults who have injured their back at work or are suffering from a degenerative disease. Unfortunately, researchers have discovered that back pain also affects many children. They found that 1% of seven year olds have back pain, a figure that increased to 6% for 10-years-olds, and 18% for 14 to 16 year-olds.
These figures are very concerning for any parent who is worried about their children unnecessarily being in pain. To help your child avoid back pain, you should be aware of common back pain risk factors. Our chiropractor in Stoke shares those risk factors and explain how chiropractic care can help your child avoid back pain.
Risk factors for back pain in children
There are several risk facts that increase the likelihood of a child experiencing back pain. They include:
Childhood obesity has become a serious problem in recent years, particularly in developed countries. In the UK, about 28% of children aged between 2 to 15 were considered overweight or obese in 2016 — a very worrisome statistic. Unfortunately, being overweight or obese can have a significant impact on a child’s health, increasing their risk of diabetes and high blood pressure.
Obesity can also contribute to lower back pain because it adds weight to a child’s midsection. This causes the pelvis to shift forward and makes the spine curve excessively inward. Obesity forces the musculoskeletal system into an abnormal shape that can cause lower back pain. If your child is overweight, speak with your doctor about implementing a weight loss strategy.
Poor posture is sitting or standing in a way that places additional strain on the musculoskeletal system. When you are slumped at a desk, for example, although you may feel relaxed you are placing additional strain on your neck, lower back, and shoulders.
Having poor posture can lead to a wide variety of health problems including rounded shoulders, poor circulation, a slanted neck, poor digestion, joint pain, muscle soreness and of course — back pain.
If your child has poor posture, have them assessed by a chiropractor. A chiropractor will be able to determine how your child’s posture is incorrect and develop a plan to address it. Obtaining chiropractic care can help your child avoid back pain and many other health problems.
A sedentary lifestyle
If you child spends a significant amount of time sitting each day, they will have a much greater risk of experiencing back pain. This occurs because sitting for extended periods causes abdominal muscles to become weak. This makes back and shoulder muscles become stressed — leading to back pain. To avoid this risk factor, encourage your child to be physically active every day.
Failure to get enough exercise each day will also lead to other muscles becoming weak. Without a strong core, shoulder muscles and back muscles, the likelihood of back pain will be much higher.
They sleep in a bad bed
It’s common for adults to spend a lot of money on their own bed and mattress. They do so because they know how much a quality mattress improves how well they sleep and how good they feel in the morning.
But when it comes to their children, they often skimp and buy a cheap foam mattress. In some cases, the child may be given a high-quality mattress but it doesn’t get replaced for many years.
Most parents assume that if the child is not complaining about the quality of their bed, it must be acceptable. Unfortunately, children often won’t mention the fact that they find their bed uncomfortable — they will just soldier on. This can eventually result in your child developing a bad back.
Weight of schoolbags
Researchers have found that the incorrect handling of heavy schoolbags is a common cause of back pain in children between the ages of 8 and 13. If you suspect that your child is carrying a very heavy bag to school, check the contents of the bag and remove unnecessary items.
Children who sit in uncomfortable chairs while at school are at risk of developing poor posture and back pain. Another common problem with seating arrangements at school is that many students are not directly facing the teacher. One research paper found that 74% of children sat with their sides facing the teacher.
Being seated sideways to the teacher causes students to twist their torso to look at them, placing strain on their lower back. If you are concerned by the seating arrangement in your child’s classroom ask your teacher if it can be changed.
As you can see, there are many potential risk factors that can lead to a child suffering from back pain. If your child mentions they are in pain or is clearly vulnerable to these risk factors, take action as soon as possible.
If you have concerns about your child’s back health then our chiropractors in Stoke and Newcastle are here to help. You can book an appointment at either Newcastle Chiropractic Clinic or City Chiropractic Clinic in Stoke.