Low Back Pain in Children and Adolescents

Moreno, M. (2017) JAMA Pediatrics. 171(3):312

Image source: H – – J – Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Low back pain is often thought of as an adult condition. However, it is relatively common as children grow older.

At 7 years of age, about 1% of children will have experienced low back pain; at 10 years of age, about 6% of children will have experienced low back pain; and at 14 to 16 years of age, about 18% of adolescents will have experienced low back pain.

Unfortunately, having low back pain as a child or adolescent is a significant risk factor for having low back pain as an adult.

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ACP Guideline: Nondrug Treatments Should Be First-Line Therapy for Low Back Pain

Nondrug treatment alternatives should be considered as first-line therapy for patients with low back pain according to an updated clinical practice guideline from the American College of Physicians | Anesthesiology News


The new guideline offered three main recommendations for treating acute (less than four weeks), subacute (four to 12 weeks) and chronic (>12 weeks) LBP:

  •  Nonpharmacologic treatments such as acupuncture, heat packs and massage are strongly recommended because acute or subacute LBP is expected to improve over time regardless of treatment.
  •  Nonpharmacologic treatment such as exercise, multidisciplinary rehabilitation, yoga and tai chi should be initially used for patient with chronic LBP.
  •  Only after these treatments are deemed ineffective should nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs be considered as first-line therapy.

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