UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Pediatrics

Title: Pediatric Back Pain

Keywords: Back Pain, Leukemia, Lymphoma, Neuroblastoma (PubMed Search)

Posted: 1/24/2008 by Sean Fox, MD (Emailed: 1/25/2008) (Updated: 7/18/2024)
Click here to contact Sean Fox, MD

Pediatric Back Pain

  • Back Pain in PrePubertal Children is rare and often due to serious underlying disorder
    • Infection (diskitis or osteomyelitis)
    • Malignancy
      • Osteoma, Osteoblastoma
      • Histiocytosis X
      • Lymphoma, Leukemia
      • Ewing Sarcoma
      • Neuroblastoma, Spinal Cord Glioma
  • Back Pain in adolescent children is more likely to be due to muscular skeletal injury (as with adults)
    • Classified as chronic back pain (greater than 4 weeks duration) in up to 13%


  • Red Flags for Serious Underlying Disorders
    • <4yrs of age
    • Back Pain causing functional disability (child not willing to play)
    • Fever
    • Neurologic Abnormality (get the child undressed and do a good neuro exam).