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Back Pain in Children

Back pain is a surprisingly common complaint in children. In most cases, back pain is related to activity, heavy lifting (such as a backpack!), or periods of growth. It important to be evaluated with an exam and X-rays to rule out other more serious causes.

Whether or not you are an athlete, a stretching and strengthening program, anti-inflammatories, and modifying activities can resolve most back pain.

  • Exercises: Please visit https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/recovery/spine-conditioning-program/spine-conditioning-program-pdf/ for a comprehensive set of stretches and strengthening tips to improve back pain.
  • Anti-inflammatories: I recommend a trial of 10-14 days of over-the-counter ibuprofen three times a day with food. This can also be taken as needed if pain is mild.
  • I recommend limiting participation in sports and activities especially if it is painful. In most cases, participation will not cause long-term damage but may prolong recovery. If possible, limit the weight of your backpack.