Everything You Need To Know About Growing Pains

Most children suffer from growing pains at some stage, however, they can be difficult to diagnose and treat. Here's everything you need to know.

Growing pains are something that you may not be aware of but for children who suffer from them, the pain is very real.  In fact, growing pains are more common than you think, with quite a lot of kids suffering from them at some point (especially preschool kids or prepubescent children).   Here are a few things you need to know about growing pains. 

What are the symptoms?

Pain in the muscles for no reason
Front of thigh pain and calves or behind the knees
No sign of trauma or soreness like redness or swelling
Pain felt mostly at night
Pain that wakes a child up during the night
Early evening pain or late afternoon
Sudden pain and erratic

So, why does it happen?

Surprisingly, it has nothing to do with bone growth but more to do with your child’s active lifestyle. The growing pains are a response to the constant activity on the legs and are a subsequent ache after physical exertion which could be skipping, walking fast or running. In most cases, the worst of the pain is after a day of exercise.  Therefore, growing pains are not chronic and they appear sporadically without too much warning. However, if you pay attention and try to track its routine, it is probably more common after intense exercise by your child. Child hiding under cushions.

How do you know if it is growing pains?

In fairness, it is hard to figure out if the pain your child is experiencing is growing pains and not something else. Parents may worry about autoimmune diseases or illnesses like juvenile arthritis but in most cases, the problem is simply growing pains and while it isn’t nice, it does pass in time.
Growing pains don’t cause a huge amount of stress to the body when being examined, so you’ll find your child won’t mind being touched or checked over by you or a medical professional. Children that are in chronic pain respond differently and will find examinations terribly upsetting.
This is a good signal as to what is wrong with your child. A doctor will diagnose growing pains when other illnesses have been ruled out and there may be a need for some blood tests and X rays.

How do you help your child?

Encouraging your child to be mindful of their physical exercise and while your child needs to be active on long days when they may be outside more make sure they take regular breaks. Teach your child how to stretch before they play chasing, for example, and encourage your child to eat well too. If your child is in pain, a muscle cream is a good idea. You could also speak to your chemist or doctor about some pain medication.
Most importantly, listen to your child, as they may find themselves feeling like they are imagining the symptoms. If your child is saying they are in pain, they are, so be understanding and offer them advice/help to manage their pain. A cuddle at night helps too if the pain awakens them from slumber.

Emma Hayes

Emma Hayes is a busy mum to two girls aged 17 and 11 and is married to her childhood sweetheart.

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