When Does the Spine Stop Growing?

It is fascinating watching children grow up and how growth occurs, from early fetal development all the way through to adulthood.  If you have children then you know how fast they can go through shoes and clothes.  Medically speaking different parts of the body develop at different rates, for example your head finishes growing fairly early, within your first couple of years but when does the spine stop growing?  Let’s take a look at growth and development and try and answer this question.

Pediatrics and Development

It is the study of childhood development and growth that attracts many medical students to the field of pediatrics.  One of the first things that your child’s doctor will check when you bring your kids in for a check-up is their growth.  The checkup will take into account things like height and weight and measure it against the average of children in the same age group.

Abnormalities in the Spine

The spine is one of the most complex parts of the entire body.  It is an integral part of both the skeletal system and your nervous system.  Your spine is what allows you to walk upright and it carries signals from the brain to your entire body.  Abnormalities in the growth spine can cause a plethora of problems in the body, skeletal issues, muscle development and problems with your nerves.  There have been countless studies by pediatricians all over the world looking at what constitutes normal and abnormal spine growth in children.

Normal Spinal Development

There are more than 20 different measurements that determine whether spinal growth is proceeding as normal and whether there are any issues affecting spinal growth.  It should be noted that just like girls stop growing in height earlier than boys so too does their spines stop growing earlier than a boys does.  A girls’ spine will stop growing around the age of 14 whereas a boy will continue growing until they are roughly 18 years old.

During this research that studies spinal growth in children documented some interesting developments.  Growth that affects your range of motion is all done by the time you are nine years old but it will still grow in length.  Most of the growth in your spine, more than 70% happens in the bottom 5 vertebrae.

So to finally answer the question “when does the spine stop growing” the answer is about 14 for girls and about 18 for boys, although growth of the spine is far more complicated than that.