BACKGROUND: Back pain is reported to occur already in childhood, but its development at that age is not well understood. The aims of this study were to describe BP in children aged 6-12 years, and to investigate any sex and age differences. METHODS: Data on back pain (defined as pain in the neck, mid back and/or lower back) were collected once a week from parents replying to automated text-messages over 2.5 school years from 2008 till 2011. The prevalence estimates were presented as percentages and 95% confidence intervals. Differences between estimates were considered significant if confidence intervals did not overlap. A test for trend, using a multi-level mixed-effects logistic regression extended to the longitudinal and multilevel setting, was performed to see whether back pain reporting increased with age. RESULTS: Depending on the age group, 13-38% children reported back pain at least once per survey year, and 5-23% at least twice per survey year. The average weekly prevalence estimate ranged between 1% and 5%. In the final survey year more girls than boys reported back pain at least twice. The prevalence estimates did not increase monotonically with age but showed a greater increase in children younger than 9/10, after which they remained relatively stable up to the age of 12 years. CONCLUSIONS: We found that back pain was not a common problem in this age group and recommend health professionals be vigilant if a child presents with constant or recurring back pain. Our results need to be supplemented by a better understanding of the severity and consequences of back pain in childhood. It would be productive to study the circumstances surrounding the appearance of back pain in childhood, as well as, how various bio-psycho-social factors affect its onset and later recurrence. Knowledge about the causes of back pain in childhood might allow early prevention.
Chiropractic and Manual Therapies, 2014, Vol 22, Issue 1