Many parents accuse their children of faking a condition known as growing pains. Growing pains may not be officially recognized in the medical world, but about twenty five to forty percent of children will experience them. Growing pains are tied to an aching, throbbing pain in the legs and sometimes in the abdominal muscles. They usually only last for a few minutes and they are gone by morning.
Typically growing pains are nothing more than a simple muscle ache caused from overexertion. If your child had a particularly active day, they will probably have growing pains during the evening or during the night. For some children growing pains are absolutely unbearable. What can parents do to help ease the pain that is associated with growing pains? Here are a few suggestions:
· Take them seriously. While you know the pain is nothing more than a muscle pull or cramp, it is painful to a child. Let them know that you recognize they are in pain and do your best to comfort them.
· Give them lots of love. Children love to be held and cuddled by their parents. It doesn’t matter what age they are, they like to know that their parents care about them. Sometimes they just need a hug from you and the pain will start to go away.
· Rub their legs. The pain can be a simple leg cramp that just needs to be rubbed out. Massage their legs until they fall asleep again.
· Use a heating pad to relieve the pain. Heat is a great way to treat the pain children experience with growing muscles. You can also try a warm bath to help them feel better and encourage them to move their legs in the tub a lot.
· Stretch their legs. Stretching the muscles is a great way to get rid of pain. Teach your children to stretch their legs every morning and before bed. You should also teach them to stretch before they participate in physical games like jumping on the trampoline or running around the yard with their friends.
· Try some Tylenol if the pain is lasting longer than fifteen minutes and nothing else is working. Don’t teach your children that they should take pain killers every time they have pain, try the other remedies first and resort to medications only if nothing is working.
The average growing pain will last for about fifteen minutes during the night. Some children will cry because the pain is so intense. Look at their legs and check for swelling, redness, tenderness, rashes, and check their temperature. If they appear to be healthy, it is just growing pains. Serious symptoms should be evaluated by a doctor to see if they have an underlying condition that needs treatment.
Growing pains will go away as the child starts to get older. There is no evidence to support why growing pains occur, but the medical community is still doing research to see if there is something that causes it. The height of the child does not matter; most children will experience growing pains whether they are short or tall.
Make sure your child does not have a serious injury that is causing the pain. A bump on the leg from banging into something on the playground can definitely cause the leg pain. The best thing you can do is to remain patient with your children when they wake you up in the middle of the night because their legs hurt. Keep your cool and just hold them and reassure them that you love them and you will always be there to make them feel better. The pain will start to go away within a few minutes and you can all get back to bed.
As with all advice articles, this article is not meant to replace the consultation of a competent medical professional.