What are growing pains?On average, up to 30% of children are affected by growing pains during their growth.
Growing pain can occur in children as part of their growth. The growth-related pains are particularly evident in the limbs and are usually more pronounced during periods of rest (eg at night or in the evening) than during physical activity of the affected child.
Especially often upper and lower legs are affected by growing pains; in some cases the pain is expressed in joints such as the knee joint. Typically, the growth-related pain in an affected child does not always occur at the same body site, but also migrates and changes the body side.
On average, up to 30% of children are affected by growing pains during their growth. The pain is probably slightly more common in girls than in boys.
In medicine, the exact causes of growing pains in children are still largely unknown. However, growth pain is thought to be related to, among other things, bone growth:
Scientific research suggests that bone growth occurs in children, especially during periods of physical rest, and that the symptoms are particularly pronounced during these phases.
Further hypotheses indicate that growing pains in children may be favored, for example, by poor posture or circulatory disorders. It is also possible to have an influence of heavy physical activity or a fundamentally increased fatigability of children on growing pains. However, these assumptions could not be conclusively confirmed.
Diseases with this symptom
- Circulatory disorders
- Restless legs syndrome
Diagnosis & History
Since growth pain is not a clearly defined disease, it is difficult to make a clear diagnosis by a treating physician.
Frequently, growing pains are diagnosed as part of so-called exclusion diagnostics; This means that a child affected by the corresponding pain is first examined for various other causes of the symptoms in order to rule out the presence of these causes. For example, pain that is also characteristic of growing pains can hide, for example, injuries or various infections.
Also rheumatic diseases or tissue formation on the limbs can lead to complaints that resemble growing pains. If necessary, such diseases can be excluded, for example, by means of blood tests or X-rays.
Growing pain can occur in children until puberty. Typically, growth pains appear in phases and then resolve themselves after a potential period of up to about one hour. Growth pains usually show a good prognosis and do not occur after completed growth.
Growth pains are not uncommon in puberty. Between the ages of 12 and 16 there may be occasional moderate to severe pain in the bones. After physical activities such as football, or an intense long-distance running, this pain can be intensified. Growth pains are not alarming.
They are an indication that healthy growth is taking place. As a mother or father you do not have to worry about growing pains. If you want to help yourself, cooling can always help. It is important that you do not cool the affected areas for more than one hour. Excessive sport should not be practiced too often.
The muscles that are just starting to grow can be overburdened and a torn muscle can break. The cause of growing pains are growth hormones in most cases. Even though there are pills today to balance these hormones, one should not necessarily intervene in the natural growth process of one's own child.
In order for the bones to grow quickly and with less pain, the supply of sufficient calcium is necessary. These can be herbal as well as animal calcium sources. If the growing pains have not disappeared overnight and are still there for days, you should contact a pediatrician. In this case, it could be something else.
When should you go to the doctor?
Growing pains in children can be a huge burden on parents because they see their child suffer - and worry that something worse could be behind it. It is therefore not for their own reassurance wrong to visit the pediatrician at the first appearance of suspected growing pains or to discuss the observation at the next upcoming investigation. He can clarify whether it really only growth pains and if they occur in normal expression.
As a result, the parents are calmer and are also much better able to soothe their children as long as they are still dealing with growing pains. However, even after such an examination, parents must always make sure that the symptoms appear like typical growing pains. They come in the late afternoon into the night, in the morning until noon they are not felt. Swelling or redness of the skin has nothing to do with normal growing pains.
If such symptoms occur, the pediatrician is best visited as soon as possible. Since affected children with growing pains so often have discomfort, parents inadvertently sometimes overlook other health problems that also cause pain - but with other symptoms. Even with deviations from the normal pain pattern, such as an increase in pain, examined the pediatrician again the affected child.
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Treatment & Therapy
Since the causes of growing pains are largely unknown, no causal treatment of the symptoms is possible. However, acutely occurring pain phases can be alleviated by various measures.
Which measures are used in each case depends above all on the expression of emerging growth pains. For example, a targeted massaging of the painful part of the body can be effective against comparatively weak growth pains; supportive may include St. John's Wort oil, which is massaged into the skin.
Heat can also have a positive effect on growing pains. For example, affected body parts can be supplied with pain-relieving heat by means of hot water bottles or thermal blankets. Another way of heat treating growth pain is to use a red-light lamp to direct warming infrared light to painful body parts.
If a child suffers from very severe growth pains, it is also possible, in consultation with a doctor, to administer analgesics in the acute case. Experts emphasize the importance that the preparation and dose of an analgesic drug are suitable for a child's organism. It is also generally not advised to use analgesic medication over a longer period of time.
Outlook & Forecast
Growth pains do not affect every child, but can be very intense when they occur. As they grow as the child grows, they may appear until the child stops growing. Often, however, they stop earlier and are no longer a problem in late teens.
Parents with affected children should be prepared during the time of growth to get busy at night with problems of getting in and out of bed. While everything is fine in the morning and at noon, starting in the late afternoon, there are first signs that growth pains are being discussed today. It is particularly unpleasant when the little ones have gone to bed without pain and awake at night in pain. Unfortunately, growing pains occur just at these times, which is characteristic of them and says that nothing is worse. Fortunately, growing pains do not affect children's healthy development, even though they may cost the little ones a few nights sleep.
If sleep becomes a serious problem, as they can not sleep at all and are therefore tired during the day and do not manage the daily routine, a doctor should be consulted. Otherwise, the growing pains will be detrimental to the school and the social life of the children.
Since the factors leading to growing pains are not yet known in medicine, it is usually not possible to prevent the symptoms. However, medical advice from parents of affected children may point to individual pain-relieving treatment methods. Thus, early measures for acute onset growth pain can counteract an increase in pain.
You can do that yourself
In case of growing pains help a number of home remedies and measures. Above all, protection and warmth have proved their worth. A hot bath relieves the discomfort as well as a gentle leg massage with Arnica's cream, chamomile, sage or St. John's wort oil. In addition, stretching exercises help.
In particular, the thigh and calf muscles should be relaxed and stretched during acute pain attacks regularly, because that stimulates the blood circulation and accelerates muscle growth. Homeopathic remedies can also help with growing pains. Effective is about the globules Guaiacum D6, which should be taken for the best effect before falling asleep. In addition, parents should make sure that the child is well-fed and healthy. Dietary supplements with calcium, magnesium and vitamins C and D can compensate for possible deficiencies and quickly relieve the pain.
In severe cases, mild analgesics may be prescribed to help the child have a good night's sleep. The most effective is in growth pains, however, distraction. When playing or cuddling the pain is usually quickly forgotten and take off after a few minutes by itself. Strong growth pains should be discussed as a precaution with the attending pediatrician.