Growing pains are an aching or throbbing pain typically experienced in the leg muscles of children and are diagnosed when other conditions such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, or hypermobility, have been ruled out. Growing pains commonly occur during two periods, in early childhood (among 3-to-5-year old’s) and later in 8-to-12-year old. The intensity of the pain varies from child to child, but most kids report pain in the front of their thighs, calves or behind the knees. Although the pain does not last throughout the day, it can be upsetting for the child and parents as the pain can be severe enough to wake them from sleep. Be sure to offer support and reassurance as growing pains will pass as they grow up.
Some of the things which you can do to help ease growing pains for your child is to massage the area, encourage stretching, help them take a warm bath or use a heating pad to alleviate discomfort and loosen up their muscles. However, if your child experiences any of these symptoms, be sure to see a doctor.
- Long- lasting pain, swelling or redness in one particular area or joint
- Pain associated with an injury
- Pain on only one side of their body
- Loss of appetite
- Weakness or tiredness
Physiotherapy can be an effective way to decrease pain and speed up recovery through a combination of hands-on therapy and exercises. After a thorough assessment of joint range of motion, flexibility, and strength, the aim is to reduce pain by reducing any inflammation and improving muscle flexibility.
As every child is different and has different physical abilities and limitations, the physiotherapist will determine which muscles are the most problematic and will provide your child a tailored exercise programme which they should follow to help reduce their pain.
Simply doing general stretches could exercise the wrong muscles or in the wrong way, thus, having a physiotherapist involved in the process can help determine which stretches will be most effective.