Does your child suffer from low back pain? It’s more common than you think.

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Whether you remember it or not, chances are you experienced lower back pain at some point during your childhood. While most assume this issue only effects the elderly and people who sit at a desk all day, the scary truth is that up to 69% of all kids will have low back pain at least once in their childhood with the most common occurrences between 12 and 18 years old. The good news is that childhood back pain can be treated to help prevent future suffering.

The main cause of low back pain is weakness in muscles surrounding the low back and hips as well as poor movement patterns. Both of these issues can be addressed through a well-structured physical therapy program. Many studies have shown kids ranging from ages 8-18 benefit from therapeutic exercise and manual therapy provided by a physical therapist.

Therapeutic exercise for low back pain is structured to target specific muscles in the low back to assist with proper movement patterns. Chances are you’ve told your child at some point—perhaps repeatedly—to “sit up straight” or “stop slouching so much.” Yes, heavy backpacks and sitting in class all day don’t help matters, but the fact is kids do not typically use their low back muscles. As the saying goes “use it or you lose it.” Physical therapy allows you to build strength and mobility while also teaching how to keep it.

The manual therapy component is used to decrease pain and improve mobility in the low back. Several techniques can be used; at PT Solutions we use the techniques that are most supported by scientific research. We are currently conducting a case series on a specific technique for kids with low back pain, which is proving to be extremely successful.

The most important thing to remember is to seek physical therapy as soon as your child experiences low back pain. Earlier initiation of treatment correlates with quicker return to pain-free activity.