Growing Pains

If your kid wakes up in the middle night, crying and complaining of a throbbing pain in his legs, chances are he is experiencing growing pains.  

It may seem a little scary, but it’s actually quite common. Growing pains occur in about 25-40 percent of children. They generally occur during two periods: early childhood (among 3-5 year olds), and later on during pre-puberty (8-12 year olds).

Growing pains causes

There is no concrete evidence that shows just what causes growing pains. The most possible causes are aches and discomforts from all of kids activity – jumping, climbing, and running. Pain occurs after a child has had a particularly active day.

Growing pains symptoms

Growing pains usually focus on the muscles instead of the joints. Most kids would complain about pain in the front of their thighs, and calves, or behind their knees, while their joints look normal. In contrast, joints that are affected by serious diseases are swollen, red, and tender.  

How to tell if it is growing pains

One telling symptom that doctors find helpful is how a child responds to touch. A child who has pain from a more serious illness do not like to be touched or handled because movement increases the pain. Whereas a child with growing pains feel better when they are massaged, held, or cuddled.

Helping Your Child

Some things that may help alleviate the pain include:

  • massaging the area
  • stretching
  • placing a heating pad on the area
  • giving ibuprofen or acetaminophen (Never give aspirin to a child under 12 due to its association with Reye syndrome, a rare but potentially fatal disease.)

When to Call the Doctor

Call your doctor if any of the following symptoms occur with your child’s pain:

  • persistent pain, pain in the morning, or swelling or redness in one particular area or joint
  • pain associated with a particular injury
  • fever
  • limping
  • unusual rashes
  • loss of appetite
  • weakness
  • tiredness
  • uncharacteristic behavior

These signs are not due to growing pains and should be evaluated by the doctor.

Source: MSN Health