At our clinic we use a very gentle, non invasive approach called cranial osteopathy. We prefer to have a parent present during treatment of your teenager. Generally your child will not need to take off any clothes, however this age group is where scoliosis will often present while the child is having a large growth spurt and altered hormonal balance. These patients may need to take off their top so we can visualise their back at the beginning of the examination and then we will ask them to put it back on while we treat them.
Teenagers will often suffer from similar complaints to adults such as headaches and sporting injuries, and you will be able to find more information on our Conditions page. There are some complaints that present mainly in this age group which include back pain associated with studying and carrying a heavy school bag, scoliosis, Scheuermann’s disease and Osgood Schlatter’s disease.
Study Posture and A Heavy School Bag Can Cause Back Pain and Headaches
Apart from sporting injuries, one of the most common reasons a teenager will need osteopathic treatment is due to back pain and headaches from studying.Carrying a very heavy bag full of text books or a lap top, and poor study posture (which is incredibly common) leads to a lot of strain on the muscles of your spine. This can cause back pain and headaches.
Osteopathic treatment can help to release these strains and make it easier to sit well during study periods. Our osteopaths will also make sure there is nothing more extensive than muscle strain going on such as scoliosis or Scheuermann’s disease.
Teenagers Experiencing Back Pain Might Have Scoliosis or Scheuermann’s Disease
Frequently scoliosis begins during puberty when there is a sudden growth spurt and a surge of hormones (the other common time being pregnancy). Often the first sign of it will be some back pain, and then a parent noticing their child’s spine looks curved during summer when they are swimming. It is more common in girls, and also more common when one parent (typically the mother) has scoliosis.
From a treatment perspective it is important to get an accurate gauge of how advanced the curve is. This is done with x-ray which is then measured. Regular monitoring will help to assess whether the curve is progressing or static.
Some small curves do not need much treatment and the patient can come in only to their osteopath for help with the aches and pains associated with the muscle tension that arises from the curve. Some however will need to be braced to stop any advancement of the curve, and rarely they may need surgery.
If the teen does end up needing a brace or surgery, osteopathic treatment can still be helpful with decreasing muscle tension and increasing joint mobility as an adjunct to the brace itself.
If the adolescent has not got an s shaped curve in their spine but has back pain and seems to be getting hunched over this is indicative of Scheuermann’s disease. It is due to the cartilage of the bones being inflamed and irritated during the rapid growth period of puberty and not developing normally, but instead forming a wedge shape to the vertebrae.
It rarely requires bracing or surgery, and is usually treated with manual therapies such as osteopathy to help relieve the pain in the back muscles and improve mobility.
Knee Pain in a Teenager Might be Osgood Schlatter’s Disease
If your adolescent is complaining of pain below their knee cap (patella) where the tendon joins on to the shin bone (tibia), this may be Osgood Schlatter’s disease. It is inflammation of the patella tendon where it joins onto the tibia. Sometimes this inflammation can cause an enlargement of the bone in this area.
It happens because of the huge changes in shape, size and strength of the muscles and bones and can be improved with rest. Osteopathic treatment may also be helpful in decreasing any twists or tensions in the bones and muscles so that they aren’t pulling as strongly on the patella tendon.
Some of the above conditions may require referral to a specialist.