Is back pain a problem for kids?
One of the things that some universities do to help out new researchers is have senior academics look over their grant applications before they are submitted. Recently we had a proposal for a study on back pain in adolescents assessed in this way. One of the comments was that back pain is not a problem for teenagers; it doesn’t happen very often and if it does it goes away by itself quickly anyway. It is worth noting that this feedback came from researchers outside the field of musculoskeletal pain, and seemed to be on the basis of personal experience.
This appears to be a common view, and was reflected in our study looking at how well pain reports from children match up with their parents. The answer; not very well, parents frequently reported that their child did not have pain over the past week when the child reported that they did. To dig a bit further into the issue, we collected all the systematic reviews that addressed prevalence, risk factors, prognosis, and treatment effectiveness relevant to back pain in children and adolescents. Here’s what we found.