Children and teenagers can end up with chronic back pain for any number of reasons, including injuries from sports or stressing overly flexible joints. In rare cases, they may be born with spinal problems. For instance, the world’s fastest man Usain Bolt was born with a curvature in his spine. Hollywood’s empress of entertainment Elizabeth Taylor was born with scoliosis, a medical condition in which a person's spine has a sideways curve.

Adding perspective to adolescent back pain, is a recent study in the Journal of Public Health, researchers found out the connection between substance abuse and back pain. Adolescents who experience back pain more frequently are also more likely to smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, and report mental health conditions like anxiety and depression. For example, 14-15 year olds who experienced pain more than once a week were 2-3 times more likely to have had alcohol or smoked tobacco in the past month than those who rarely or never had pain.
QI spine clinic identified 10 ways for parents to maintain their children’s spine health.
1. Don’t ask your child to sit down. Sitting is not necessarily good behavior. Let them move around as much as they want to.
2. You are the biggest role model for your kids. Don’t slouch and don’t adopt a sedentary lifestyle.
3. Remind your kids to sit up straight. Make sure your child's backpack isn't overloaded.
4. If back pain is keeping your child up at night or interfering with daily activities, see a doctor.
5. Educate yourself about sports injuries so you know how to manage them.
6. Supervise your child when she's playing on swings or other playground equipment. Teach her not to walk or run in front or back of the swings -- or stand on them.
7. Insist on safety when your child takes up a new sport. For example, a child who begins skiing, skating, or snowboarding should take lessons to learn good technique, including the proper way to fall.
8. Insist on the right gear. Children riding bicycles or riding scooters or skating should always wear helmets, mouth guards, wrist guards and knee guards, as required.

9. Seat-belts and child safety seats are the best protection for children riding in cars. Babies and small children should have their own child safety seats.

10. Your adolescent will feel shy about movement, during and immediately post puberty. Encourage them to feel comfortable about themselves. Help them maintain an active lifestyle.

Your spine is a marvel of engineering. It consists of a series of vertebrae extending from the skull to the small of the back, enclosing the spinal cord and providing support for the thorax and abdomen. It comprises basic structures such as vertebrae, disks, cervical spine, thoracic spine, lumbar spine and coccyx, all held erect in a delicate balance. Ensure you take care of it.

By QI Spine Clinic