According to the data, musculoskeletal spinal pain, which includes lumbar, thoracic and cervical spine pain, has increased in recent years, affecting between 15 and 35 percent of children and adolescents. Not only is this concerning for our children now, but research also shows that children and teens who experience spine pain at an early age are more likely to develop chronic spine pain as an adult.
“MSP is one of the most common causes of severe long-term pain and physicial disability,” said Yolandi Brink, a physiotherapist at Stellenbosch University. “The biggest risk factor for experiencing MSP in adulthood is the occurrence of a first episode of MSP during childhood or adolescence.”
Why Are More Kids Dealing With Back Pain?
According to Brink there are a number of reasons as to why kids these days are experiencing more spine pain than kids in the past. She listed numerous potential reasons, including:
- Heavier backpack use
- School furniture ergonomics
- Other psychosomatic symptoms
- Less physical fitness
- Poor nutritional choices
Brink added that unless the underlying condition is truly treated when it first arrives, it can keep returning throughout a person’s life.
“MSP conditions are often recurrent in nature, occurring throughout the life course.
However, there are a number of steps we can take to help reduce the onset of spine pain in our children and teens. Some recommendations include:
1. Limiting total backpack weight to no more than 20 percent of the child’s body weight, and the backpack should have wide padded straps that fit over both shoulders.
2. Sitting should be limited, as children should engage in no more than one our of screen time a day, while adolescents should be limited to two hours.
3. Children and adolescents should engage in at least 60 minutes of physical activity or exercise each day.
4. Children should eat a well-balanced diet that limits the overconsumption of Vitatmin B12, which is found in meat, eggs and cereal.