Written by Dr. Sagar Bhattad
“The hardest part of being a parent is watching a child go through something really tough and not be able to fix it for them.”
So true! Seeing our kids grow is the best of the cherishable moments, but this phase of physically growing up is not like walking on a bed of roses. Growing pain in children is the most common chapter of the growing phase in kids. Like doting parents, we make every effort to relieve our kids of growing pain, but before finding out the solution it is essential to understand the problem in the best possible manner.
Firstly, let’s understand very clearly that growing pain in kids is not any disease at all. So next time when your seven-year-old gets up at night and complains of leg pains, don’t panic and rush to the doctor the next morning. Nothing damaging has happened to the child, and simple remedies or treatments can heal the child’s leg pains.
Very commonly seen in children aged between three to twelve, the growing pain in children is the pain affecting the child’s musculoskeletal system. It’s not at all dangerous. It is muscular pain in kids that equally affects both boys and girls. Very few kids experience this growing pain until their teenage years or adolescence.
Few say that the pain is because of the growth spurts, but there is no evidence to support this reasoning. There are no specific reasons for the growing pain in kids.
So doctors often say that considering the age group in which this growing pain is experienced, this happens due to excessive involvement in physical activities like running, cycling, jumping or walking. Few other reasons can be the deficiency of vitamin D in a kid or the low level of pain tolerance or simply fatigue or restlessness in legs due to excessive playing. Too much physical activity in kids sometimes leads to wear of muscles, resulting in children’s leg pain.
The aching and throbbing pains in the legs and other parts of the growing age kids vary in terms of its duration, frequency, and intensity. So we have clubbed multiple symptoms after careful observation in numerous kids. Your kid might face one or a few of these, but not all.
The muscular pain in the back of the knees, calves, shins, and front of the thighs.
This is usually the pain that occurs behind the knees. It rarely affects knee joints and so the joints don’t get red or swollen.
Children’s leg pains are considered to be the prime sign of growing pain in kids. But for a few kids, it is also accompanied by pain in both arms.
Although back pain is common in both adults and children of growing age, it can be due to wrong sitting and standing postures which affect the muscles.
The intensity of the growing pain in kids might be severe, but not intense enough to make your kid limp.
In one single word, it’s ‘painful’. The leg pains occur mostly during the afternoon or evening and they can range from mild to severe and may occur in the form of cramps or aches.
Points to be Noted:
As it has been highlighted earlier that growing pain in kids is not a disease, so there is no medical treatment for it. All the kid needs is a few home treatments to ease the suffering. You may try out any of the below remedies as cure or relief:
A warm water bath or warm water sponge on the paint-affected area before sleep helps to minimize the intensity of pain, thus ensuring sound sleep for your kid.
All a child needs is a gentle massage of the pain-infected area with the help of mild pain-relieving oils.
Make your child do a few calves-stretching or thigh-stretching exercises. Take guidance from doctors or experts regarding the kind of exercises a kid can do.
If feasible, apply a heating pad or hot water bottle to the pain-infected area. Make sure that the temperature of the heat is under control because the skin of a child is very soft and sensitive.
Although over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, like acetaminophen, help relieve aches and pain, it is advisable to use them occasionally and that too under medical supervision only.
Consult your doctor at the earliest, if the growing pain symptoms in your kid is accompanied by any of the following symptoms or signs (Warning Signs):
Now that you are all well versed with the biography of a growing pain in children, you know that more than the doctor visits ( as per the need of the situation), home treatment for kids is also a remedy you can think of. This muscular pain is short-lived and does not affect the growth of your child in any way. So relax, and cherish the growing days of your kids.