Growing up can be hard work and it is sometimes tough on your body. Growing pains are commonly seen in preschool and school-aged children and affects about 10 to 40 percent of children. Growing pains are sometimes considered no big […]
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Sprouting a Discussion about Growing Pains

by Jill Taylor on January 20, 2015

in Healthy Living

78748644Growing up can be hard work and it is sometimes tough on your body. Growing pains are commonly seen in preschool and school-aged children and affects about 10 to 40 percent of children.

Growing pains are sometimes considered no big deal, but how do you know if the pain your child feels is something more serious?

Scott & White pediatrician Arti Lal, MD says growing pains are deep pains that usually affect both sides (bilateral) of your body. The pain is primarily in a child’s lower extremities that typically show up hurting the child in the thigh or calf. It may or may not involve upper extremities.

Dr. Lal says it’s a good idea to pay attention to these growing pains to make sure it isn’t something more serious. She teamed up with David Reynolds, a nurse practitioner student, to offer some insight about growing pains.

What Are Considered Growing Pains?

Children are busy-bodies and always on the move. If their day is filled with running and jumping, it can trigger growing pains that may feel worse than normal. Dr. Lal says sometimes a child may cry due to the pain, or complain of their stomach hurting as well.

“Pain occurs late in the day or could awaken the child at night,” says Dr. Lal.

This is one of the common signs of growing pains—hurting occurring after the child has gone to bed. This is the time when the body is resting and growing, and usually the time when a child will complain of pain.

Dr. Lal says the pain is usually in the calf or thigh, so if these are the areas your child is complaining of, you may need to offer some relief.

Parents can do the following to help relieve pain:

  • Give painkillers such as Tylenol or aspirin
  • Apply heat
  • Help stretch the muscles around the hurt area
  • Massage the area to reduce pain

What Causes Growing Pains?

“The etiology (or cause) for growing pains is not known at this time,” says Dr. Lal. “But it is believed to be related either to the stretching of the bones thick covering or overuse of muscles during the day.”

Should I Worry?

It is encouraged for parents to bring in their children with pain in their legs for evaluation. After performing a detailed history of the pain as well as a physical examination, your provider will be able to determine if it is growing pains.

“Atypical presentations could involve constant leg pain, limping, pain in the morning that decreases with movement, weakness, or unusual tiredness,” says Dr. Lal.

If you’re unsure if your child is having growing pains, give your doctor a call.

“I would definitely have a visit or two with your physician to make sure it does not have the red flags of some other condition, especially if the measures described do not heal the pain,” warns Dr. Lal.

If some heat, medicine or nice stretching doesn’t do the trick, it may be something more serious. However if the pains go away in the morning, it is likely they are just growing pains. You may want to invest in some new pants, since your child will soon sprout and outgrow his current pair.

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