Growing pains are very common in children and young adolescents, and can start as young as age three. While generally, they aren’t anything to be too concerned about and can be often treated with rest, joint manipulation and massage, persistent pain may signal that something else could be wrong.
What are growing pains?
Despite the name, growing pains actually have very little to do with growth. They are mainly harmless muscular pains that occur in both boys and girls. Pain is generally felt in the calf, front of thighs and behind the knees. It mainly occurs in the afternoon and evening, and can sometimes wake children from sleep.
While the exact cause of growing pains is unknown, what is known is that it is muscular and can relate to joint restrictions. The pain may be caused by muscular tiredness from physical activity, impacts from poor posture, or even stress and emotional upset can cause muscular pain in children.
The good news is that the symptoms of growing pains can be easily treated to reduce your child’s discomfort.
When pain becomes a problem
There are many cases where pain in children can be mistaken for growing pains but actually signal a more serious issue. The first thing to always remember is that pain is your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong. While short term pain may not be an issue, persistent pain warrants investigation by a health practitioner, even if it’s just for your own peace of mind.
Aside from growing pains, if your child is feeling muscular pain it could be a sign of health problems such as scoliosis, Osgood-Schlatter disease, biomechanical issues, or viruses such as Ross River virus.
If your child has severe pain, feels unwell, has swelling, a loss of appetite or rashes seek immediate medical assistance
Treatment for growing pains
The treatment for growing pains is relatively simple and very effective. Just make sure that your health professional addresses, or rules out, issues that may be impacting your child such as scoliosis, Osgood-Schlatter disease or biomechanical issues such as a short leg. If these are left untreated, it can actually make the problem worse and cause longer term issues.
As a chiropractor, I generally treat growing pain symptoms with gentle chiropractic techniques, mobilisation and stretching, as well as provide gentle stretching exercises that can be done by the child at home. This is combined with massage and heat or ice treatments depending on whether there is any inflammation in the joints.
If you would like any further information about growing pains, or want to check your child’s biomechanics to identify any potential issues early contact me at Lane Chiropractic on 6676 2270.