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Neck and Back Pain in Children: Prevalence and Progression Over Time

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Neck and Back Pain in Children:
Prevalence and Progression Over Time

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SOURCE:   BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2011 (May 16); 12: 98 ~ FULL TEXT

Per Kjaer, Niels Wedderkopp, Lars Korsholm, and
Charlotte Leboeuf-Yde

Institute of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics,
Part of Clinical Locomotion Network,
University of Southern Denmark,
Campusvej 55, DK-5230, Odense, Denmark.

The following article appears to be the first study to track and review the progression of back pain in the same group of children, over a prolonged period, to see how (or if) it is a contributor to those same complains in adulthood.

Of particular interest is Table 2, because it breaks down and tracks complaints of either neck, mid back, or low back pain in the same group of children at 3 different time periods: ages 9, 13 and 15 years old.

Table 2: Prevalence rates of different types of back pain in a cohort of Danish children/ adolescents surveyed at three time points

  Age Group     Age 9     Age 13     Age 15  
Neck Pain
All children









Mid Back Pain
All children









Low Back Pain
All children










The Abstract and Full Text Article:

BACKGROUND:   It is generally acknowledged that back pain (BP) is a common condition already in childhood. However, the development until early adulthood is not well understood and, in particular, not the individual tracking pattern. The objectives of this paper are to show the prevalence estimates of BP, low back pain (LBP), mid back pain (MBP), neck pain (NP), and care-seeking because of BP at three different ages (9, 13 and 15 years) and how the BP reporting tracks over these age groups over three consecutive surveys.

METHODS:   A longitudinal cohort study was carried out from the years of 1997 till 2005, collecting interview data from children who were sampled to be representative of Danish schoolchildren. BP was defined overall and specifically in the three spinal regions as having reported pain within the past month. The prevalence estimates and the various patterns of BP reporting over time are presented as percentages.

RESULTS:   Of the 771 children sampled, 62%, 57%, and 58% participated in the three back surveys and 34% participated in all three. The prevalence estimates for children at the ages of 9, 13, and 15, respectively, were for BP 33%, 28%, and 48%; for LBP 4%, 22%, and 36%; for MBP 20%, 13%, and 35%; and for NP 10%, 7%, and 15%. Seeking care for BP increased from 6% and 8% at the two youngest ages to 34% at the oldest. Only 7% of the children who participated in all three surveys reported BP each time and 30% of these always reported no pain. The patterns of development differed for the three spinal regions and between genders. Status at the previous survey predicted status at the next survey, so that those who had pain before were more likely to report pain again and vice versa. This was most pronounced for care-seeking.

Read the rest of this Full Text article now!

About the Author:

I was introduced to Chiro.Org in early 1996, where my friend Joe Garolis helped me learn HTML, the "mark-up language" for websites. We have been fortunate that journals like JMPT have given us permission to reproduce some early important articles in Full-Text format. Maintaining the Org website has been, and remains, my favorite hobby.


  1. David June 25, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    It’s so frustrating because so often insurance companies deny the legitimacy of this

  2. David June 25, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    By that I meant auto insurance

    • Frank M. Painter, D.C. June 25, 2012 at 5:55 pm

      Hi David

      That makes no sense. The average child’s head weight, compared to the size and musculature of their neck, make it more likely they would be injured in a MVA than an adult. That’s also the case with women in general, that because they have a lower muscle mass, they are more likely to incur injury throughout the spine with the quick deceleration of accidents.

  3. David June 26, 2012 at 10:40 am

    I completely agree. But having been on the legal side most of my career in the past as a paralegal and case manager settling cases, auto insurance companies almost always try to deny the legitimacy of any substantial neck and back pain treatment in children claiming that they heal on their own so much quicker than adults, even despite letters and studies I’ve given them from D.C.’s stating exactly what you’re talking about

    • Frank M. Painter, D.C. June 27, 2012 at 6:54 pm


      I’d file a complaint with your State Insurance oversight Agency and your State Chiropractic Association. No insurer should be permitted to deny valid claims that another reputable company would pay. Drop the Hammer!!!

  4. Russell Berg D.C. June 30, 2012 at 9:57 pm

    I read a study several years ago that indicated 67% of all children will experience neck or back pain causing them to seek health care and that out of this group they will go on to make up part of the 80% of adults that seek health care for back pain.

  5. Dr. John Boyle August 3, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    We see a lot of young children in my office, and it seems to vary on whether it’s neck, midback, or lower back. Most are due to car accidents or sports injuries. Great Article!

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