Children's Hospital Colorado

Back Pain Management in Pediatrics (S1:E11)

Back pain is a common problem for adults, but how big of an issue is it for children? We don't have the data needed to answer this question definitively, but primary care pediatricians (PCPs) will certainly encounter young patients who are battling back pain and/or spine conditions in their practices.

Back pain can result from a number of issues ranging from sports overuse to scoliosis, and it's important to ask the right questions when these young patients visit your office.

Listen to our pediatric orthopedic expert discuss childhood back pain, including the relationship between scoliosis and back pain

During today's episode, Sumeet Garg, MD, joins us to discuss back pain management, including common identifying characteristics and the relationship between scoliosis and back pain in children.

Dr. Garg is a pediatric orthopedic surgeon at Children's Hospital Colorado and an associate professor of orthopedics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

In this episode, we explore:

  • The incidence of back pain in kids and adolescents
  • Decreases in physical activity among teens and how it relates to back pain
  • Specific physical characteristics to look for during a physical examination of a child's spine at the PCPs office
  • Why it's so important to look at the child's entire back, plus tips for explaining the process to parents
  • The different tools and strategies PCPs can use when assessing a child's spine
  • A new pediatric scoliosis app from Shriners Hospitals for Children parents can use to monitor the curvature of their child's spine
  • When it's best to obtain imaging (and when it's not necessary)
  • The challenge with MRI imaging for younger kids, including MRI side effects in children
  • Suggestions for talking with young patients and families about back pain
  • Underlying drivers of back pain in children, such as tight hamstrings and weak abdominal muscles
  • When a young patient should visit an orthopedic surgeon for help alleviating back pain
  • The relationship between scoliosis and back pain in pediatric and adolescent patients
  • The concept of bad posture being a habit rather than a spine deformity
  • Scoliosis management and what families can expect over time

Managing back pain in children at Children's Colorado

Children and adolescents suffering from back pain are treated by the pediatric experts in our Spine Program. From basic back pain to more complex cases, our goal is to provide the safest and most effective treatments, beginning with nonsurgical options. If our pediatric spine specialists determine surgery is the best treatment, families know their child will be in good hands with our experienced orthopedic spine surgeons. Refer a patient to Children's Colorado.