What are growing pains?
Growing pains are discomforts experienced by your child, usually during night times or just before bedtime. There were days when growing pains were related to bone growth. However, this is false. Simply put, growing pains occur in children during the ages of 3 and 6.
Why do growing pains occur?
As already established, growing pains have nothing to do with joints and bones. They have to do with muscle cramps and aches, especially after a lot of physical activity. We all know that children play a lot, jump around a lot, and run a lot. When muscles are starved for water, they cramp. During these rapid growing years, children experience cramps and aches in muscles quite regularly.
What are the symptoms?
Three main areas are affected with growing pains; thighs, calves, and the part behind the knees.
Growing pains affect children at different rates. Some find it extremely difficult to bear and other children manage it with less discomfort. Growing pains usually are sporadic and intermittent.
Children usually experience pain at the end of the day. Your child might wake up in the middle of the night complaining of a lot of discomfort or pain. This is quite natural.
Growing pains usually do not affect your child’s ability to play physical sports. Also, the pain goes away by morning.
How to handle growing pains in children
Here is a simple checklist to help your child with growing pains:
- Muscles: Massage the affected area to soothe the muscles a little bit. A bit of gentle stretching might also help reduce the pain. The best thing to do is put a heating pad on the affected area. Heat relaxes the muscles and releases muscle tension
- Medicine: Always consult your doctor before medicating your little one. Do not provide aspirin. Ibuprofen and Acetaminophen are a safer and wiser choice. However, it is absolutely imperative to consult your doctor beforehand
Should you call your doctor
If your child is suffering from pain for a long time, check for swelling and redness around the affected area. If the pain seems to be visually indifferent and the pain unbearable, it is good to visit your doctor immediately. If the painful area appears to be swollen, red, or bruised, and the child finds the pain unbearable, go to do the doctor immediately.
Here are some signs that your child’s aches and pains are not related to growing pains:
- Incessant pain in a specific area or joint
- Pain caused due to an injury
- Unusual rashes
- Loss of appetite
- Weakness and tiredness