What is growing pains?
Growing pains are one of musculoskeletal pain syndromes that usually related to children growth.
How common is growing pains?
This health condition commonly occurs in 10% to 20% of elementary-school aged children and it is classified based on the nature, location and clinical features of the pain. It commonly affects more boys than girls.
Interestingly, the pain does not occur during periods of rapid growth or at growth sites. It occurs most often in children from 4 to 12 years old and occurs at night.
Please discuss with your doctor for further information.
What are the symptoms of growing pains?
The child often complains of deep, crampy leg pain. It can be easily mistaken for common leg pain, however growing pains can last for a few hours for a period of at least several months and often occur at night.
Occasionally, the child can awoken from sleep complaining of pain, and would only return to bed after having their legs massaged.
There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.
When should I see my doctor?
If your child has discomfort or nocturnal awakening influences their daily life or behaviors, please consult with your doctor.
What causes growing pains?
There is no specific cause of growing pain, but they are not correlated with growth problems nor do they present any other illness.
It is differentiated from disorders like inflammatory arthritis by the lack of morning symptoms of pain and stiffness and the absence of inflammation on physical exam.
What increases my risk for growing pains?
Growing pain normally tends to be more common in children who are extremely active; episodes of pain are increased by physical activity. Other risk factors include age: Children from age 4-12 usually complain of growing pain.
Diagnosis & treatment
The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.
How is growing pains diagnosed?
If your child complain of pain on both calves or thighs, you should take your child to see the doctor. If there is no sign of arthritis or muscular tenderness, weakness or any joint or muscle swelling, your child may have growing pains.
Laboratory studies or x-rays are used to confirm the diagnosis. If the results are normal but your child still complain of pains, it might be because of growing pain.
How is growing pains treated?
The treatment of growing pains consists of a reassurance and a regular bedtime routine of:
- Regular stretching and relaxation (massage);
- Heat treatment (warm towel);
- Mild analgesics prescription with a nighttime dose.
While massage might be helpful. Occasionally, waking up at night can you’re your child more grumpy during the day. It can bring stress to family relationships and the child’s quality of life. Strategy should be held for minimizing potential problems with the family’s interpersonal relationships.
Lifestyle changes & home remedies
What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage growing pains?
The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with growing pains:
- Healthy sleep pattern improves significantly life quality;
- During frequent episodes, massage is advised because of its effectiveness relieving the pain;
- Analgesics can be considered.
If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Review Date: December 4, 2016 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017
Rudolph's Pediatrics Self Assessment and Board Review. Download version Chapter 207. Musculoskeletal Pain Syndromes. Page 826. Accessed December 4, 2016.
Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics, 7th and 20E. Download version Growing pains Chapter 168 page 1227-1228. Accessed December 4, 2016.
Paed Glance. Download version Chapter 48 Leg pain and limp. Page 122. Accessed December 4, 2016.