How to Relieve Children of Growing Pain? by Dr. Sagar Bhattad

5 min read

Written by Dr. Sagar Bhattad

Dr. Sagar Bhattad

how to Relieve Children of Growing Pain

“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.

In This Article

What is the Growing Pain? Are Growing Pain Real?

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.

What are the Reasons?

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.

Symptoms of Growing Pain

growing pains in kids

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.

1. Growing Pain in Legs

The muscular pain in the back of the knees, calves, shins, and front of the thighs.

2. Growing Pain in Knees

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.

3. Growing Pain in the Arm

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.

4. Growing Pain in Back

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.

5. The Intensity of the Pain

The intensity of the growing pain in kids might be severe, but not intense enough to make your kid limp.

What Does Growing Pain Feel Like?

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:

  • Sometimes this pain also occurs in the night but gets resolved by morning.
  • The pain is severe enough to wake a child up from midnight or afternoon sleep.
  • This pain occurs either on continuous nights in a row or after a certain gap.
  • Such growing pain in one leg is either accompanied by other leg pain or headache or abdominal pain.
[Read : Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis In Children]

How Can it be Treated?

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:

1. A Warm Bath

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.

2. Massaging

All a child needs is a gentle massage of the pain-infected area with the help of mild pain-relieving oils.

3. Stretching

girl stretching her legs to relive growing pain

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.

4. Heating Pad

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.

5. Painkillers

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.

[Read : Growth Hormone Deficiency In Children]

When is it Essential to Visit a Doctor?

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):

  • Limping or difficulty walking
  • Leg pain in just one leg
  • Red, painful, swollen joints
  • Weakness and Fatigue
  • The pain has been caused by an injury
  • The pain interferes with normal activity
  • It is only on one side of the body
  • The kind of pain that lasts until morning
  • Fever
  • Rashes
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Unexplained Weight Loss
  • Stiffness in the joints, especially during the morning hours (may suggest Rheumatoid arthritis of childhood)

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.

Read Also : Lyme Disease In Toddlers – Symptoms & Treatments You Should Be Aware Of

Dr. Sagar Bhattad, MBBS, MD Pediatrics
DM - Pediatric Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology, Aster CMI Hospital
7 years of experience

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