What Are Growing Pains?

What Are Growing Pains?

Think back to what life was like as a child, growing up. Did you ever experience a throb or ache in your legs at night, perhaps behind your knees or in your calves? This is what is known as growing pains, although there is no evidence that growing is actually painful and the cause of this kind of pain is unknown (Mayo Clinic, diseases and conditions guide).

Growing pains could potentially be down to restless legs syndrome, which is also known as Willis-Ekbom disease, a common nervous system condition that causes you to feel an overwhelmingly irresistible urge to move your legs. You may also experience a creeping or crawling sensation at the same time, with symptoms often worse in the evening or at night.

However, the most likely cause of growing pains is apparently overuse during the day and, as we all know, children can be incredibly active, with lots of energy to burn off each day.

Overuse of the muscles during activities like jumping, climbing and running can put a lot of stress and strain on your child’s musculoskeletal system, which may be why they experience this kind of pain.


What can you do about growing pains?

There is no specific medical treatment for pain of this kind, but there are ways you can help ease your child’s symptoms, whether you choose to gently massage their legs, give them a hot water bottle or heat pack to help the pain, or give them a warm bath before they go to bed.

You can also get in touch with the team here at Frimley osteopathic clinic, OsteoVision if you’re concerned. Our team of experienced practitioners can help manage your child’s pain with articulation techniques, muscle energy techniques and soft tissue manipulation. They are also able to recommend some stretches and other exercises that can help your child manage their symptoms.

To help ease their pain, lie your child on their tummy and hold their heel to their bottom, asking them to then lift their thigh up off the floor to deepen the stretch. Repeat a few times and then do the other leg. This should give them some relief.

Growing pains should stop by the time your child reaches the age of 12, but if they continue after this you may want to make an appointment with your GP to see if there is another underlying cause.

The NHS advises you to make an appointment to see a doctor if your child is reporting pain in just one leg, the pain continues into the following morning, your child is having trouble walking or is walking with a limp, if there’s a rash, swelling or unusual bruising, if the pain manifests itself in the joints, if your child has a high temperature and if they don’t want to eat or are losing weight.