Many children, from three years, up to around age eleven, experience harmless muscle aches known as “growing pains”.

Growing pains are usually described as an aching or throbbing pain in the legs, often in the thighs, calf muscles or behind the knees. Some children may also experience headaches or soreness in their arms. Growing pains generally occur in the late afternoon or evening and sometimes wake children from sleep but resolve by morning.

Symptoms Of Growing Pains.

Muscular aches in both legs; typically in the front of the thighs, behind the knees and in the calf muscles
Onset of pain in the late afternoon or evening
Pain may worsen during the night
Pain does not worsen or improve with movement. This indicates that joints are not affected
Pain does not cause a limp or make it hard to run or play normally
Pain resolves by morning
The child may also complain of headaches or arm pain
The pain comes and goes. It may occur a few times a week or only occasionally

Cause Of Growing Pains.

The cause of growing pains is unknown. Despite these pains being called growing pains, there is now evidence to suggest that growth hurts, and growing pains generally do not occur in times of rapid growth. Strenuous activity during the day is thought to be the most likely cause of growing pains. As there are many factors that can contribute to pain, its importance to seek advice from your health professional to rule out other potential causes if your child is experiencing persistent pain.

If your child is experiencing growing pains, there are simple measures than can be taken to help manage their pain:

some extra cuddles, tlc and reassurance that the pain will go away and they’ll feel better in the morning
Gently massaging the painful areas (using a massage oil or pain relief cream can also help)
A warm bath or heat pack
Pain killers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen

Osteopathy is a gentle effective treatment option for growing pains. Within a consultation, we’ll take a thorough history and examination to ensure that it is simply growing pains. We will then address any muscular tightness or joint restrictions that may be contributing to their discomfort, in the form of massage, stretching and gentle joint articulation. We do not manipulate (crack) children. Furthermore, some management options, such as stretches or self massage, may be given to help with discomfort as it occurs at home.

If you are concerned about your child, or they are complaining about pain, why not book them in for a treatment. Given it’s the school holidays it is a great time to address these things!