Growing pains affect many children, with the pain usually most intensive in legs. The pain is located in the front of the thighs, in the calves or behind the knees. It is most likely that kids will be complaining about the pain between the age of 3 and 5, and later, when they are 8 to 12 years old. By the time they get to teen age, most children don’t have the growing pains anymore.
The pain affects strictly muscles, not bones or joints. Some doctors suggest that the pain is provoked by too much of physical activity. They say that overuse of the muscles during the day causes the muscle to hurt at night, usually just before bedtime. If your child is suffering and complaining about the pain, comfort them and give them a hug. Reassurance and snuggling may ease milder growing pains.
Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) could ease the condition if necessary. Make sure to always use the doses for children. Aspirin should not be given to kids, because it may cause the Reye’s syndrome. This is a serious condition that could be potentially fatal. The exact cause of this syndrome is unknown, but it is connected with Aspirin use in children.
Most parents will do anything to avoid giving the painkillers to their kids. That’s when home and homeopathic remedies come handy.
Remedies for Growing Pain
Massage is known to help. Gently rub the area where it hurts. It will relax the affected muscles and soothe the little patient. Avoid pressing too hard or too long, because it could induce some more pain.
Heating pads or moist heat can decrease the pain in affected limbs. Heating pad might be used just before bedtime. Always remove the pad once the child had fallen asleep. Sometimes just having a warm bath really helps, with or without some Epsom’s salts added to it. Or you could pour hot water in a bottle, wrap it in a towel and offer the kid to place it on painful spots.
Too much exercise or any physical activity may cause growing pains. Stretching the legs and especially toes might be helpful. Flex the toes towards and then away from the body while sitting. Also, try sitting with the legs spread apart. Then stretch towards one leg and after that to another leg. Be careful to stretch gently. These simple exercises, repeated several times could reduce the discomfort.
Stretching daily and before bedtime should be a good preventive measure, some specialists suggest.