Many Factors Involved in High Rate of Low Back Pain Among Children

Sports injuries are just one frequent cause, researchers say
Sports injuries are just one frequent cause, researchers say

HealthDay News — Low back pain is common in school-age American children, and rates increase with age, according to a study published online January 30 in JAMA Pediatrics.

Researchers analyzed previously published studies and found that back pain affects 1% of 7-year-olds, 6% of 10-year-olds, and 18% of teens ages 14 to 16.

The researchers did not find any single risk factor or factors for low back pain in school-aged children. Likely factors include sports and other types of physical activity, body growth, previous back injury, and a family history of low back pain. Females are also at greater risk, the investigators said. 

"Historically, pediatric training has emphasized that a specific factor or factors cause low back pain in children and adolescents, but recent studies have informed us that is not necessarily the case," lead author James MacDonald, MD, MPH, a sports medicine physician at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, said in a hospital news release. "While some lower back pain needs to be treated by a specialist, most pediatricians who have a good understanding of the principles outlined in our article can help children and adolescents prevent and manage lower back pain."

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