Clinical Reference Systems: Pediatric Advisor 10.0
- Your child complains of back pain.
- Usually the middle or lower part of the back is involved.
- The pain is worsened by bending.
- The muscles on either side of the spine are tender or in
- Mainly occurs in adolescents.
Backaches are usually symptomatic of a strain of some of the
200 muscles in the back that allow us to stand upright.
Often the triggering event is carrying something too heavy,
lifting from an awkward position, or overexertion of back
muscles (for example, from digging).
The pain and discomfort are usually gone in 1 to 2 weeks.
Recurrences are common.
- Pain-relief medicines
Give acetaminophen or ibuprofen four times a day.
Continue this medicine until 24 hours have passed
without any pain. This is the most important part of
the therapy because back pain causes muscle spasm and
these medicines can greatly reduce both the spasm and
- Local heat
A heating pad or hot water bottle applied to the most
painful area for 20 minutes helps to relieve muscle
spasm. Do this whenever the pain flares up.
- Sleeping position
The most comfortable sleeping position is usually on the
side. The mattress should be firm or reinforced with a
Have your child avoid lifting, jumping, horseback
riding, motorcycle riding, and exercise until he is
completely well. Complete bed rest is unnecessary.
The only way to prevent future backaches is to keep the
back muscles in excellent physical condition. This will
require 5 minutes of back and abdominal exercises every
day. Helpful strengthening exercises are sit-ups, 6-
inch leg raises, flattening the back against the floor,
and tucks of the leg to the chest. Also do stretching
exercises. The strengthening exercises should be
avoided when your child is having active back pain;
however, the stretching exercises should be continued.
Remind your child to lift objects with the leg muscles
and not by bending or twisting the back.
CALL YOUR CHILD'S PHYSICIAN IMMEDIATELY IF:
- The pain becomes very severe and persists more than
2 hours after your child takes pain medicine.
- Your child can't walk.
- Your child starts acting very sick.
CALL YOUR CHILD'S PHYSICIAN DURING OFFICE HOURS IF:
- The pain is no better after 3 days of treatment.
- Your child still has pain after 2 weeks.
- You have other concerns or questions.