Back pain is one of the most common reasons for teenagers to see an Osteopath. Rapid growth, carrying heavy school bags, sporting activities, and poor study postures can often result in aches and pains. If your teen is experiencing persistent pain it’s important to rule out any developmental conditions which may be causing their discomfort.
Here we focus on two developmental conditions we may see in adolescents.
More common in girls, Idiopathic scoliosis is a sideways curvature of the spine that occurs most often during the growth spurt just before puberty but can develop from the age of 4/5 years. Often the first signs of a scoliosis will be noticed by a parent and can include uneven shoulder heights and one shoulder blade that appears more prominent than the other.
Accurately gauging the curve, usually by X-ray, is the priority along with curve progression monitoring.
Osteopathy does not aim to fix the curve but can help with the aches and pains associated with the muscle tension arising from the curve. More severe curves may require referral to an Orthopaedic consultant to limit the advancement of the curve using a brace, and rarely they may need surgery.
If the teen does end up needing a brace or surgery, osteopathic treatment may still be helpful with decreasing muscle tension and increasing spinal mobility.
More common in boys, it normally presents with back pain and the development of a “hunched over” appearance to the upper back. It is due to the cartilage of the bones being inflamed and irritated during the rapid growth period of puberty. This rapid growth can cause wedging of the vertebrae.
It rarely requires bracing or surgery, and is sometimes treated with manual therapies such as osteopathy to try and help relieve the pain in the back muscles and improve mobility.
If your teen is complaining of aches and pains why not contact The Osteopathic Centre to see if we can help.
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