We answer some common questions about something that affects many children: Growing pains!
Q: What is growing pain?
A: It is a muscular pain that occurs in children, usually between age 3-5 and again between 8-11, although it can last until teenage years. It's usually felt in the legs, typically in the front of the thighs, behind the knees or the calves. It's speculated that the pain comes from the muscle being stretched out as the bones grow, but many doctors seem to believe it has more to do with overuse of muscles (in really active children for example) rather than from growth.
Q: How come I never had growing pains?
A: Not all children experience growing pains. One reason could be that some children have a lower pain threshold in general, and therefor is more sensitive to the pain.
Q: Can growing pains happen during the day?
A: Growing pains happen during the night, so if your child complains about pain during the day, it's likely something else bothering them and you should go to a doctor to examine.
Q: How can I help soothe the pain?
A: Gentle massage usually help ease the pain, and applying heat can also help. Over-the-counter pain medication can be used if the pain is severe. If you prefer a more natural approach we love the Miss Moo Wellness Growing Kiddo oil blend, an essential oil blend you can roll onto the affected area and massage for relief. It's also been noted that stretching can help ease growing pains in general, so it might not be a bad idea to teach your child to stretch their legs daily.
Q: Should we take our child to the doctor?
A: Growing pains are harmless and other than doing your best to soothe it, it does not need medical attention. So how do you know that it's actually growing pains and not something more serious? Here are some signs:
- Growing pains happen unilaterally, meaning on both sides. Your child could wake up with pains in just one leg, but usually the other leg will end up hurting the following night or two. If your child has a persistent pain only in one leg, it's likely from a different cause.
- As mentioned above, growing pains happen in the evening or during the night and are usually gone by the morning. Pain that occurs during the day is usually caused by something else.
- Growing pains are invisible, meaning there should be no red, inflamed areas. Any signs of inflammation should be examined by a doctor.
- Growing pains happen in the muscles, not the joints. If your child complains about pain in her joints, you should see a doctor.
If your child is suffering from growing pains at night, chances are their pain threshold is lower than average, and they might be helped by stretching daily and using an essential oil blend or ibuprofen combined with massage when a flare up happens.