Nearly one in three adolescents report back pain

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It is becoming more common for children and adolescents to seek medical care for back pain, according to a literature review published in the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Almost a third of adolescents reported back pain, according to the review.

Emphasising the importance of early diagnosis, Suken A Shah, lead study author and division chief at Nemours Spine and Scoliosis Center, Alfred I DuPont Hospital for Children, says, “If [the patient’s] history, physical exam or simple tests reveal a diagnosis or problem, this can be treated early, and [they] will probably be able to return to [their] activities or sport.”

The paper reveals that, for nearly two thirds of adolescent patients, clinical physical examination and imaging may not produce a clear cause for their back pain. “It could be from a muscle strain, poor posture, too much training in a single sport or multiple sports in the same season, or the opposite–too little activity and not enough exercise,” says Shah.