Lower Back Pain in Adolescents with an Osteopathic Component
Low back pain (LBP) is a common complaint in adolescents and has been increasingly reported in recent years. Affecting roughly 40% of adolescents, it leads to negative overall health, higher incidence of LBP in adulthood, and greater utilization of health care resources over one’s lifetime. LBP in adolescents differs from adult populations due to variations in structural anatomy, which contribute to differing approaches in diagnosis and treatment of this condition. The differential diagnosis of LBP in this population is extremely broad and can be attributed to many underlying etiologic factors. Clinicians must conduct a thorough history and physical examination and consider the appropriate diagnostic testing to accurately diagnose adolescents early on in their conditions to provide the most effectivetreatment. Treatment for this condition ranges from rest and rehabilitation, to oral medications, OMT, bracing, and rarely, surgery. Physicians must also be able to recognize clear risk factors and symptoms for serious underlying pathology that can be causing LBP. This article will focus on diagnosis and treatment of the most common causes of LBP in adolescents.