Childhood Back Pain Leads to Adult Back Pain

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Private School News//

December 9, 2009

Childhood activities can pave the road for future adulthood back issues. Children who carry heavy backpacks for long periods of time, those who carry them on one shoulder instead of two, and shorter students (because of their smaller stature), are more likely to experience back pain.

Teens who smoke, are obese, have a family history of back pain, and/or are involved in intensive sports are also at an increased risk for experiencing back pain.

A study done in Europe in 2008 revealed that students involved in gymnastics and jogging were more likely to experience back pain then others. The only sport that led to less-frequent back pain was swimming.

Back strengthening exercises and warm-ups can help reduce risk. Incorporate them into team warm-up routines and your personal exercise regime. Here are two Web pages we liked:

Help reduce student risks:

  • Backpacks should weigh no more than 10% of the student's body weight. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children carry no more than 10 to 20 pounds.
  • Limit the time students need to carry a backpack. If your campus isn't designed to limit the need for carrying books, encourage students to wear both straps on their shoulders, or across their chest as some designs acquire.
  • Back pain can also be an indicator of certain psychological issues such as stress, anxiety, or social problems.

Back pain that needs immediate emergency care:

  • Back pain accompanied by fevers (lasting two days or more), or pain so severe that it awakens the person from their sleep is serious and should be checked by a physician. These could be signs of infection, a slipped disk (if pain shoots down one or both legs), or more seriously, a tumor. Chronic pain could be an early indicator of arthritis.
  • Progressive leg weakness and/or loss of bowel or bladder control can be a sign of a compressed nerve in the lower spine.
  • Unexplained, rapid weight loss accompanied by pain and neurological impairment (loss of bowel or bladder control, change in bowel or bladder habits, weakness or numbness of the arms or legs) could be a sign of a tumor growing along the spine.
  • Acute, severe stomach pain along with low back pain that prohibits the person from standing straight can indicate an abdominal aortic aneurysm.
  • Fever with increased pain that does not respond to common fever reducers can be the sign of a bacterial spinal infection. For individuals who have had recent surgeries or have recently been ill, this could be an increased risk.

Back pain that leads to the emergency room isn't typical for young adults. But there are always those rare cases, and so age shouldn't be a deciding factor to disregard any warning signs that could be a serious emergency.

In regards, to your faculty and staff, back pain that is left untreated could lead to long-term disability. ISM recommends that you share the above warning signs with your school's faculty.

For continued reading about back pain emergency warning signs, click here.


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