Our 12-year old son has been experiencing low back pain for approximately 3 years now. MRI showed nothing but maybe a tiny bulge that is not affecting a nerve. He has problems sleeping because of it. He takes motrin 800mg at least twice a day and sometimes 3 times a day. He has missed school because of this. A Pediatric Orthopedic Physician says that it is growing pains. He's miserable. What do you think? Do have any suggestions?
Person's Gender: Male
Person's Age: 12
Physical therapy did not work. Naproxyn 500mg BID did not help
I'm happy that you have asked me to assist you with your child and hope that you can benefit from my many years of helping parents like you.
Back pain occurs in about 30% of all children and teens and while spinal problems are responsible sometimes, most of the time it is due to muscle spasm from injury of some type. Since he has had the most accurate test already, the MRI, you really don't need to worry about nerve involvement, especially since the orthopedist has already done an evaluation.
Would massage therapy help? I know you guys hate them, but would a chiropractor help?
I surprised the ortho did not prescribe a muscle relaxer such as Flexeril, as this can really help loosen the spasm until it finally goes away. You might call her pediatrician about this or the orthopedist to see if they will give her some. Yes, massage can help and while most chiropractors are ethical and responsible when treating back pain, many will do a bunch of X-rays and then point out "misalignment" of the spine (which the MRI did NOT show and is much more accurate) and then prescribe a series of "adjustments" that will continue until your insurance runs out! I'd go with the massage therapist and be sure it is someone who works on minors, and they will need your consent and possibly your presence during the session.
Naproxyn is great for some pain (bone and joint) but not really helpful for muscle spasm, which is why flexeril is better since it is a muscle relaxer.
It cannot be taken before school as, like valium, it does cause drowsiness.
But taken at after school and at night it works wonders.
Thank you for your help. We'll give his physician a call. Have a great day!
33 years of experience as a general pediatrician in private practice and in pediatric urgent care.