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Bone, Joint and Muscle Conditions

Back Pain

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Symptoms of Back Pain

Back pain may feel:

  • Dull, like achy muscles
  • Very sharp, like a shooting or stabbing feeling

Back pain can make it hard for your child to bend or stand up straight.

Back Pain Diagnosis

When your child comes to our clinic, our doctors ask questions to find out what is wrong:

  • How bad is the pain? Does it prevent your child from sleeping at night, going to school or playing? Does your child have to stop participating in sports or other activities he enjoys?
  • How long has your child had the back pain?
  • Is the back pain worse early in the day or late in the day?
  • Does your child feel numbness, tingling or weakness in the legs?
  • Has the back pain changed bladder control or bowel movements?
  • Has your child lost a lot of weight or had a high fever along with the back pain?
MRI of discitis. The typical intense inflammatory reaction seen on MRI may lead to over-treatment. Courtesy of 'Fundamentals of Pediatric Orthopedics,' © 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

MRI of discitis. The typical intense inflammatory reaction seen on MRI may lead to over-treatment.

If your child has severe or moderate back pain that lasts more than six weeks, a health-care provider who specializes in children’s muscles, bones and joints will evaluate the condition.

The expert will ask you for the details of your child’s medical history and examine their back.

We also will assess your child’s nervous system. We will check reflexes and perform other tests. We may ask that your child have X-rays.

After reviewing the X-rays, the exam results and your child’s symptoms, we may ask your child to have additional tests to evaluate their back, including:

  • Blood tests to check for arthritis 
  • Bone scan  to look for inflamed areas in the bones of the spine
  • MRI to look at the spinal cord  and other structures of the spine that are not bone

Who Treats This at Seattle Children's?

Should your child see a doctor?

Find out by selecting your child’s symptom or health condition in the list below:

Spring 2014: Good Growing Newsletter

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Download Spring 2014 (PDF)