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Forum Name: Pediatric Topics

Question: 3 yr old with back pain


 debisab - Wed Jan 26, 2005 8:38 pm

My 3 3/4 yr old has complained of back pain for almost a year. We have done an MRI, x-rays, blood work (CBC, ESR, ANA) and sonograms of her tummy. All were normal. She was tested for TB. Again, normal. She complains off and on. She will go weeks without complaining then it starts again. It is not sharp pain. She says very matter of factly, my back hurts. She points to her lower back. This is mainly at night as she is falling asleep. Sometimes in her car seat and less frequently at play. Again, she will go for periods of time without any mention of it then it will start again.
Can you recommend any additional tests or an option as to what this could be? Note that she was adopted from an orphanage in Ukraine at 15 months. I am at a loss to and no one can give me answers. Any help/advise would be appreciated.
 Dr. Heba Ismail - Fri Jan 28, 2005 9:53 am

Dear debisab,
I believe with all the investigations done that came back negative, your girl could be exhibiting the manifestions of a condition called 'somatization' and this is fairly common in children.
This is a condition that usually occurs in response to psychological stress and is expressed in the form of a persistent experience of physical pain such as headaches, stomachaches, backaches or chest pain.
It could persist after the stressor has gone, resulting in the child and family to believe that the correct diagnosis has not been reached.
I believe this is very likely the diagnosis in her case, putting in mind she was in an orphanage at a very vulnerable period of her life.

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