Children don’t complain too much about it, but they too can experience back pain. Back pain should not be underestimated in children. Back pain is more common during the growing season. Scientific data shows that between 20 and 30% of children between 10 and 15 years old complain of back pain.
What causes back pain in children?
- Poor posture (at school, in front of screens, at the table, etc.).
- Lack of physical activity or too much physical activity.
- Obesity and overweight.
- Carrying too heavy a load (e.g. carrying a backpack).
- Spinal growth dystrophy or Scheuerman’s disease.
An important point, about 2 to 3% of teenagers in Quebec have scoliosis. Girls are more affected. Scoliosis is a three-dimensional deformity of the spine into an S shape. In scoliosis, the vertebrae lose their alignment. Early scoliosis does not usually cause back pain. However, it does distort the body. Parents should be able to identify scoliosis in their child. If a spinal deviation is present, see a chiropractor or health care professional quickly to help manage your child. Detect early for better treatment.
Carrying a heavy load
Between the ages of 8 and 14, a child may complain of back pain regularly or occasionally. Their spine is still growing. It is therefore not worth overexerting them. Studies show that improper use of a backpack can cause discomfort and postural changes in children. The weight of the backpack should not exceed 10% of the body weight of the child wearing it. If a child weighs, for example, 50 kilos, the backpack should weigh only 5 kilos.
Have you heard of text neck syndrome? It’s the name given to neck problems related to anterior head carriage when using cell phones or tablets. Frequent and prolonged use of this device leads to a significant increase in certain health problems and it is young people who are the biggest users.
Lack of physical activity
Unfortunately, childhood obesity is on the rise in Canada. This is due to the physical inactivity of children, which can lead to long-term chronic disease risks. In addition, studies show that this decrease in physical activity can affect the musculoskeletal system and body functions of children.
Physical activity to counter the causes of back pain
Don’t wait until adolescence. It is important to introduce children to physical activity at an early age and take advantage of their growth to develop their posture, as soon as they can in fact. The earlier they start moving, the more they get into the habit and the greater the chances that they will adopt healthy lifestyle habits and stay active!
However, be careful not to force or restrict your children in activities they don’t like, as this would have the opposite effect and could take away their desire to move and adopt healthy lifestyle habits. You must therefore find an activity that they will enjoy doing!
Recommendations for physical activity
It is recommended by the WHO (World Health Organization) that children between the ages of 5 and 17 should be active for at least 60 minutes a day, every day, to reap the health benefits. Ideally, the focus should be on moderate to high intensity aerobic activity. This activity should help children build muscle and bone strength.
Cities, towns and schools offer a variety of physical activities for children. Just ask around to find some that your children will enjoy. However, some children are not comfortable with or do not like competitive sports, which are often those offered by municipal or school organizations. It is therefore important to respect your child and find a physical activity that he or she will enjoy, such as simple walks or family activities.
Some ideas to get kids moving:
- Walk or bike around the neighborhood;
- Have children carry groceries;
- Gardening or shovelling with the children;
- Enrolling children in local sports or recreational activities;
- Organize dance parties;
- Obstacle courses around the house or outside;
- Going to the park or playground;
- Making sure the children get a good night’s sleep. This will help to keep them energized and motivated!
There is also a Canadian application designed by chiropractors to encourage children to be more active. It’s called Get Moving Canada and it’s free. On this app, you will find videos for kids. They are basically a few minutes programs that help children to be more mobile and have good posture.
Benefits of the Get Moving Canada app:
- 12 unique postural exercises
- Choice of exercises for adults or youth
- Easy to follow still images and videos
- Tracking features
- Create personal reminders
- Track your progress
- Share your progress with friends via social media
- Information about your back and major back problems
- Quick and easy search function for a chiropractor in your area
- Musculoskeletal health blog
Then your children’s spinal health ?
Your children’s spinal health will be greatly improved or maintain a healthy stability in their development. In addition to this, physical activity improves self-esteem, cardiovascular, bone and muscle health. Good spinal health equals good posture. Good posture means that your children will be less likely to suffer from neck, back or other pain.
Active living and physical activities allow your children to live a healthy lifestyle. Most importantly, it allows them to develop strong joints and muscles that will be able to support their spine and prevent disabling musculoskeletal injuries later on.
An active lifestyle will help your children have a better time and be the best they can be in all aspects of their lives!
Did you know that physical activity helps with stress management and flexibility in children?
We highly recommend it for children, but adults also get the same benefits when they adopt an active lifestyle. Not to mention that adults are the role models for children, they learn by example. Your children’s spinal health is worth its weight in gold, not that their lives depend on it. However, it will benefit them in many areas of their lives!
You can take the time to speak with one of our chiropractors at the clinic to learn more about the benefits of an active lifestyle for children. They can also advise you on your children’s needs if necessary!
Summer is just around the corner, which means summer sports registration is just around the corner! It’s time to discuss it with your children!
For all other information, contact us.
Dr. Patrick Gaudreau, chiropractor
Do not hesitate to make an appointment with us!
Canadian Society for Exercise and Physiology. (2015). Canadian Physical Activity and Sedentary Behavior Guidelines Handbook. Consulté le 1er mars, à l’adresse https://www.physio-pedia.com/Canadian_Physical_Activity_and_Sedentary_Behaviour_Guidelines
Malik, A. (2020, 5 mars). Guide pour la santé vertébrale de vos enfants. Canadian Chiropractic Association (CCA) – Association chiropratique canadienne. Consulté le 1 mars 2022, à l’adresse https://chiropractic.ca/fr/blogue/17491/
Notre Famille. (2017). Mal de dos et enfant: comment réagir?. Consulté le 27 mars 2022, à l’adresse https://www.notrefamille.com/sante/au-quotidien/mal-de-dos-et-enfant-comment-reagir-6661
Team, C. S. (2020, 5 mars). 8 façons de faire bouger les enfants. Canadian Chiropractic Association (CCA) – Association chiropratique canadienne. Consulté le 1 mars 2022, à l’adresse https://chiropractic.ca/fr/blogue/8-facons-de-faire-bouger-les-enfants/