Growing pains is an often misunderstood condition and can easily be confused with a number of other childhood afflictions such as musculoskeletal pain or more serious rheumatic diseases and arthritis.  It is not really known what causes the symptoms of growing pains.  It is very important as a parent or caregiver however you recognise this condition so you can ensure your child gets the proper care. 

  1. Your child complains of a vague intermittent pain.  With growing pains your child will have a hard time pointing to the exact source of pain.  With musculoskeletal pain the pain is much more area specific. 
  2. Your child reports most of his/her pain in the legs, particularly the thighs, calves and behind the knees.  Arm pain is far less common and pain does not tend to change with movement
  3. Your child has a biomechanical issue.  What we mean by this is they have conditions like flat feet,  knocked knees,  tight muscles
  4. Your child usually complains of pain at night time.  With other musculoskeletal pain the pain reported in the day as well as the night. 
  5. Someone else in your family suffered from growing pains.  Growing pains tends to run in families and affects 30% of children
  6. Your child is between the ages of 3 to 5 or 8 to 11.  Growing pains are most prominent at these ages.

Treatment for growing pains includes:

  • Reassuring your child they will be ok.  Usually the pain is gone again in the morning
  • A heat pack or warm bath may ease the discomfort by relaxing the affected muscles
  • Massaging the affected muscles may provide some relief
  • Simple analgesics such as paracetamol can also help
  • Physiotherapy will help sort out some of the biomechanical issues that are contributing factors to the condition

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