Pain is experienced by everyone. But Chronic pain in teens is something we need to talk about more.
A pain that is continuous comes and goes for a minimum of 3 months is called chronic pain. Chronic pain is common in teens and affects many areas of their lives.
Experiencing constant pain makes it difficult for teenagers to concentrate or participate in activities.
Many different factors cause chronic pain like injury, underlying disease or unexplained pain. It can sometimes keep your child awake at night affecting their academic or sports performances.
About 5% of children have moderate to severe pain, and one in four children suffer from chronic pain.
Hence, it is important to identify and address chronic pain in your teens.
Areas Where Teens Experience Chronic Pain & Why
Backache And Pain In The Neck:
In teens, it can be a result of obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, and bad ergonomics, poor posture while viewing screens. This can cause severe pain in the neck and back.
Back pain in children and adolescents typically occurs with low intensity, lasting for less than a week and recurs with greater intensity. Teenage athletes are more likely to develop it due to repetitive movements that stress the spine eventually leading to spondylolysis. Depending on the site of the pain either a cervical spine or lumbosacral spine x-ray should be done.
75% of teenagers complain of headaches. Tension headaches and migraines are the two headache forms that are most prevalent in this age range. Chronic headaches are frequently brought on by little sleep or poor sleep quality. Other than that, sore throat, ear infections, anxiety and depression, sinusitis or even simple flu are some of the causes of headaches in adolescents. Excessive use of screen time also leads to headaches in teenagers.
Any infection should be treated by a practising physician and vision disturbance should be checked and corrected if your teen complains.
Knee Joint Pains
This pain is usually observed in teens who play competitive sports or indulge in physical activities. Injury, ligament tear or pull can cause severe knee joint/cap pain. Sometimes the pain could also be growth-related pain in which the muscles are stretched and pressure is applied resulting in a little shift in the anatomical alignment. In such cases, ice application on the pain area can help. Also, you should get the knee joint x-rays done.
Being overweight and obese may increase the strain on the knees and lack of muscle strength can also make the knee joints unstable during any movement.
Leg & Calf Pain/Cramps
This is generally noticed more in teenage girls than boys and is known to be associated with puberty and growth. This pain is often found in the front of the thighs, the calves or behind the knees. Growing pains tend to affect both legs and occur at night, and may even wake up your child from sleep. Not all leg pains are growing pains but can be due to weakness, calcium and vitamin D deficiency which cannot be ignored. Pathology tests for calcium and vitamin D must be conducted and treated if deficient.
recurrent abdominal pain is common in children and adolescents. And is frequently associated with gastrointestinal symptoms and adverse emotional well-being. In most cases, it is found to be psychosomatic stress-induced pain or irritable bowel syndrome.
In adolescent girls, one reason for stomach pain is menstrual pain. Recurring stomach aches can also be due to constipation, diarrhoea, food intolerances, acid reflux, urinary tract infections, or a myriad of other causes.
Treatment should be sought after evaluating the mental and emotional health of your teen along with diagnostic testing.
Chest pain in teenagers, in the majority of cases, is not related to heart problems. Pain in the chest may arise due to the gastro acid reflux from the stomach commonly called a gas. This causes heartburn and sometimes pain. Also, tightness in the chest is sometimes found due to suppressed feelings, stress, fear etc. mainly psychosomatic reasons. It is when your teenager experiences continuous sharp, stabbing chest pain, it’s a source of major alarm for parents. And if accompanied by symptoms. Such as rapid breathing, irregular heartbeat, dizziness or chest pressure, then parents should seek medical attention immediately.
We hope this helps you address and pinpoint problems before they get amplified. Please seek professional help if your child is uncomfortable or in pain. If you have questions you would like answered by experts do send them to us in the comments below or write to us at [email protected].