We recommend children see a pediatric orthopedic specialist for back injuries (dorsalgia), because they are not small adults.
Our sports medicine teams focus on back injuries and spine conditions that affect young athletes. The team includes sports medicine physicians, physical therapists, and athletic trainers who work with young athletes with a focus on recovery and safe return to play.
Many children will experience back pain at some point while being active or playing sports. Most back pain is not serious and goes away over time and with little treatment. Back injuries are typically caused by either overuse or trauma.
Dorsalgia is a common back injury term for discomfort or pain in any part of the spine or back that can range from mild to severe and can have various causes.
The lower back is the most common area of back injury. Lower back pain usually occurs from bone, muscle or disc problems. The most common cause of lower back pain in young athletes is a stress fracture, known as spondylolysis. The second most common cause of pain is muscle strain of the lower back.
To determine the best course of treatment for each child, appointments begin with a thorough history and physical exam. It is important for our medical providers to learn how an injury occurred prior to making an assessment and determining a treatment plan. During the first visit, your doctor will look at the injury and test range of motion to see how well the arms or legs can move.
Radiology and rehabilitation are essential to pediatric back injury care. At Shriners Children’s we are fortunate to offer both in-house, allowing convenient back-to-back appointments for our patients. X-rays or other images may be needed to help the doctor decide how to best treat the injury. On-site physical therapists collaborate with patients and families to tailor patient-specific rehabilitation goals.
Treatment for back injuries at Shriners Children's often includes avoiding activities that are painful for the back, which tends to help the healing process. Physical therapy is commonly required to help children stretch and strengthen their back and abdominal muscles. Medications and surgery are also treatment options for back pain.
Specific treatments and services may vary by location. Please contact a specific location for more information.
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