In today's world, computers, video games, pizza and extreme
sports are the norms in our children's lives. Our habits,
diets and hobbies all change as the world around us does.
Unfortunately, another norm today may be adolescent neck,
back and shoulder pain.
A recent study in the British Medical Journal analyzed
instances of back and neck pain from 1985-2001, and cases
of neck, shoulder and low back pain from 1991-2001, in Finnish
adolescents. Every two years, postal surveys were gathered,
representing 12-, 14-, 16- and 18-year-olds from a national
sample of over 60,000 teens. Classroom surveys were also obtained
for twice as many 14- to 16-year-olds. The researchers' goal
was to determine the number of kids with pain at least weekly.
Back and neck pain prevalence was greater in the 1990s than
the 1980s; it also increased steadily from 1993-1997. Neck,
and back pain prevalence significantly increased from 1991
to 2001. Pain was most common in girls and older children.
Are our children more susceptible to musculoskeletal pain
these days? The results of this and similar studies make for
a convincing argument. Is it due to new information technology
leading to increased computer use, which involves repetitive
movements and static postures? Is it due to poor diets or
lack of activity? There are no clear answers yet, but in the
meanwhile, you can keep your kids active and on a healthy
diet to help prevent chronic pain.
Hakala P, Rimpelš A, et al. Back, neck, and shoulder pain
in Finnish adolescents: National cross sectional surveys.
British Medical Journal 2002:325, pp. 743-746.
To learn more about pediatric health, go to http://www.chiroweb.com/find/archives/pediatrics/index.html.