» Active Childhood May Lower Risk of Lower Back Pain in Early Adolescence
Active Childhood May Lower Risk of Lower Back Pain in Early Adolescence

Physical Therapy in Grapevine for Pediatric

As physical activity drops among North American children, doctors are seeing a rise in disorders, such as type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, and stroke later on in life. Back pain is also something doctors are seeing more of, as early as childhood. Because doctors and researchers are constantly trying to find ways to prevent illness. the authors of this article wanted to see if there was a relationship between physical activity in children and back pain in their teen years.

Researchers assessed 364 9-year-old children to check their baseline - how their back was at the start of the study - and then again after three years. Physical activity was measured with a device called a CSA accelerometer, which is worn on a belt and measures how active the child is.

The results showed that of the 364 children, the data showed that only 265 children were active for at least 10 hours per day for at least three days. The average amount of time the device was worn was about 4.8 days. Whether the child was wearing the device or not had no bearing on their size or if they had back pain already.

The researchers found that there was a relationship between how often the children moved about actively and reported back pain three years later. In other words, the children with the highest level of activity had the lower their risk of having back pain later on. The least active the children were most likely to have back pain. But, there was no difference most who were moderately active and fit. Statistically, this came to about 6 percent of highly active children developed back pain but 68 percent of the least active did.

For children who complained of back pain at the start of the study, the highly active children appeared to help treat the pain, resulting in fewer children complaining of back pain three years later.

The authors concluded that high levels of physical activity appeared to help prevent, and even treat, back pain in early adolescence. They suggest that further studies be done to verify the findings and to go deeper into the possible causes. The authors would also like to investigate if high activity intensity could cause problems in the long run, instead of being helpful.

Reference: N. Wedderkopp, MD, PhD, et al. High-level physical activity in childhood seems to protect against lower back pain in early adolescence. In The Spine Journal. February 2009. Vol. 9. No. 2. Pp. 134 to 141.