Tag: children

What are growing pains?

A lot of things get called as “growing pains” but just because there is pain in a growing child does not necessarily mean it is a real growing pain. You can certainly dismiss pain in a growing child as growing pains. A true growing pain only happens at night and never in the daytime. The pain is also in the upper calf muscle and behind the knee. If the discomfort happens in the daytime and in another location than the back of the leg and knee, then it's not a true growing pain and it is probably because of something else which should be investigated. Commonly, it only occurs in younger children and wakes the child from sleep. There will be no history of trauma or any type of damage to the area which the pain occurs in.

Growing pains tend to be fairly harmless and self-limiting, in that they do come right after time. Nonetheless, they usually are stressful to the child and parents at the time and, most importantly, there are several very serious and uncommon disorders which can have signs comparable to growing pains, therefore each case must be given serious attention and investigated to rule out the other possible causes. The consequences of neglecting these rare causes of similar symptoms is serious.

The normal treatment of growing pains is just reassurance of the child. They should be comforted and helped to get back to sleep. Gentle massage or rubbing of the leg will in most cases help. In some cases medication can be used to help the pain and relieve the returning to sleep. Stretching out prior to going to bed and if the pain happens could also be helpful. Of most importance is education about the nature of growing pains and that it will pass as well as an assessment of those potential uncommon and serious reasons for the pain.