Have your kids ever complained to you about persistent neck
or shoulder pain? More than one in 10 adolescent boys, and
one in five girls, suffer from long-term neck and shoulder
data suggests that these problems may appear in more than
half of adolescents. The repetitive movements involved with
playing musical instruments, working, and participating in
sports have been considered possible causes of these conditions.
On three occasions, each spaced six months apart, researchers
collected data from approximately 500 adolescents in Montreal,
Canada, regarding musculoskeletal health and participation
in various activities. The students, all in grades 7-9, were
assessed for neck or upper-limb (including upper back, shoulders,
and arms) pain occurring at least weekly in the preceding
Upper-limb pain appeared weekly in almost one-third of the
students. Risk factors that increased the likelihood for neck/upper-limb
pain were involvement in childcare (more than doubled risk);
holding a job (nearly doubled risk); and lower mental health.
In this study, involvement in sports or music was not associated
with developing these forms of pain.
Interestingly, students were more likely to develop neck/upper-limb
pain in the period from fall to spring, as opposed to spring
to fall. It is possible that these types of pain are more
common during the school year due to students toting heavy
backpacks and facing the stress of struggling to make new
friends and get good grades.
Feldman DE, Shrier I, Rossignol M, et al. Risk factors for
the development of neck and upper limb pain in adolescents.
Spine 2002:27(5), pp. 523-528.
For more information about pediatric health, go to http://www.chiroweb.com/find/archives/pediatrics.