Identifying Growing Pains in Children

When children complain of constant aches and pains, it’s common for parents to appear a little leery. Besides, children often make up excuses to avoid attending school or caring for routine household chores. However, before dismissing suspicious and unexplainable pain as a sly tactic for avoiding responsibility, parents may want to investigate such claims. In fact, if your child is between the ages of 6 and 12, they could be experiencing growing pains.

What Are Growing Pains in Children?

Growing pains is a common condition that affects approximately 40% of children. The discomfort generally strikes during two childhood periods. The first bout of pains may occur between the ages of 3 and 5, whereas the second episode is common between the ages of 10 and 12.

Typically, pain occurs during the night hours. Children may go to bed feeling fine, and then wake up in the morning stiff, unable to walk, or constantly stumble while trying to maintain balance. For the most part, pain tends to lessen as the child becomes more active throughout the day. When examined by a doctor, the child’s legs will appear normal. Hence, many parents accuse their children of faking the illness.

The degree of pain will vary. Most children are able to go about their daily routine with little interruption. On the other hand, the pain can become very intense. In this case, it is common for young children to be awoken from a deep sleep.

Causes of Growing Pains

Many physicians have concluded that the growth of bones is the main culprit of growing pains. Nonetheless, some doctors are reluctant to accept this cause. Episodes of growing pains generally surround extreme activities. For example, after spending an entire day at an amusement park, children may experience leg pains in the days to follow. The same pain could trail a day of outdoor activity such as riding a bike, running, and so forth.

Growing Pains Symptoms

� Pain in the thighs, calves, or behind the knees
� Muscle pain
� Spasm lasting for one to fifteen minutes

Tips for Easing the Discomfort of Growing Pains

� Massage the sore muscles
� Apply a mild heating pad to muscles
� Give the child a dose of acetaminophen
� Encourage the child to stretch sore muscles

When to Seek Medical Attention

� Continuous pain or pain following an injury
� Fever
� Rashes or Hives
� Extreme Fatigue
� General Weakness

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