Back pain is a fairly common condition in children, occurring in as many as one-third of school-age children—the causes of back pain range from muscle sprain to inherent problems with the spine. Back pain can severely limit physical activity and participation in school and sports and should be carefully evaluated.
The description of the pain, severity, frequency, and presence of neurologic symptoms help guide evaluation and treatment. Neurologic symptoms include pain, numbness, or weakness that affects one or more extremities.
Some causes of back pain can be identified with the patient's history and physical exam by your child's doctor or a specialist. When the pain is severe, long-lasting, associated with fever, or accompanied by neurologic symptoms, further evaluation with non-invasive imaging (such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)) may be warranted.
If the back pain is relatively minor and improves on its own, no further treatment is usually necessary. If there is an anatomic reason for the back pain, such as a spinal abnormality, the pain can potentially be relieved with targeted injections (hyperlink to procedure).
When back pain is caused by pressure on a nerve root, spondylolysis, or is severe and diffuse, a targeted injection may help with the pain.