Growing Pains

1 What are Growing Pains?

Growing pain is often considered as an ache or throb in the legs. This often occurs in the front of the thighs, calves and even in the knees.

This affects both legs and sometimes comes at night. It also affects children and may awake them from the sleep.

Despite being referred to as growing pains, there is no evidence that it growth of the pain hurts.

It is often associated with a lowered pain threshold, psychological issues.

There is no specific form of treatment for the growing pain. It is recommended that one needs to put warm heating pad on the sores of the muscles and massaging them. 

2 Symptoms

Some of the common signs and symptomsof growing pains may include:

  • swelling,
  • redness,
  • tenderness,
  • fever,
  • limping,
  • rash,
  • loss of appetite,
  • weakness or fatigue,
  • and associated injury. 

Growing pain can lead to aching or throbbing feelings in the legs. This pain can also be felt to the front of the thighs, calves and behind the knees.

In most of the cases, both legs may hurt. Some of the children may also experience abdominal pain or headache in the episodes of growing pains.

The pain may also occur every day. It may come and go. The pains often come in the afternoon or early in the evenings and may not be felt in the morning.

This pain may awaken a child in the night. In cases of severe pain for the child, consult your doctor.

3 Causes

The main cause of growing pain is not known. However, there is no evidence that a child growth is painful.

It is known however that growing pains don’t happen when growth is occurring or during times of rapid growth. Growing pains may be linked to restless legs syndrome.

However, may be associated with overuse during the day.

This happens especially after activities such as

  • running,
  • climbing,
  • or jumping

which affects the child’s musculoskeletal system. 

4 Making a Diagnosis

Growing pains may be diagnosed even without any tests done.

There is no need for a growing child to see a doctor. When the pain becomes persistent, this may require that you seek for help from your family doctor.

This will require that you seek for an appointment. But before the appointment, make a list of answers for possible questions you would expect from your doctor:

  • Where are you feeling the pain most?
  • Does it wake up your child at night?
  • How long does the pain last?
  • Does it keep the child awake at night?
  • Are there any other symptoms such as swelling, redness, abdominal pain or headache?
  • Are there any physical activities that your child has been involved in the recent days?

You should also expect a few questions from your doctor who may include a few symptoms and activities. He may assess the child’s bones and muscles for signs of tenderness.

Blood tests may be ordered or x-rays may help to rule out the problems.

All pains may not be growing pains. This may sometimes be associated with conditions that can be managed. 

5 Treatment

There is no specific treatment for growing pains.

This may also not be associated with any other problems and may not affect growth.

They may also get better on their own usually within a year or two years.

If the pain does not go away after a year, the pain may also become less painful.

You can also apply self-care measures such as messaging your child’s legs. 

6 Lifestyle and Coping

Lifestyle modifications are necessary for your child in order to cope with growing pains.

It is easier to ease a child’s discomfort with homemade remedies.

A child always responds to gentle massage and some feel better when they are cuddled.

One can also use a heating pad which can sooth a sore muscles. It can be applied in a low setting before bedtime or even when a child complains of the leg pain.

A warm bath taken before bed time can also help. Use of a pain reliever may also be used such as Tylenol for acetaminophen.

Avoid aspirin especially in cases of Reye’s syndrome which is a condition associated with aspirin.

Stretching exercises can also be done which may help in the prevention of pain at night. 

7 Risks and Complications

Preschool and school aged children are in risk group of having growing pains.

It is prevalent among girls than in boys.

This is because they prefer running, climbing, jumping during the day and they are more risk of leg pain during the nights. 

8 Related Clinical Trials