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What causes growing pains in children?

Many things get called as “growing pains” but merely because there's pain in a developing child does not mean it is a real growing pain. It is easy to dismiss pain in a growing child as growing pains. A true growing pain only happens during the night and not in the daytime. The pain is also in the upper calf muscle and behind the knee. If the discomfort happens during the day and in another spot than the rear of the leg and knee, then it is not a true growing pain and is most likely as a result of something different that ought to be looked into. Commonly, it only occurs in younger children and wakes the kid from sleep. There will be no history of trauma or any type of damage to the location that the pain happens in.

Growing pains are fairly benign and self-limiting, in that they do come right after eventually. Nonetheless, they can be stressful to the child and parents at the time and, more importantly, there are some very serious and uncommon conditions which can have symptoms much like growing pains, so each case does need to be taken seriously and looked into to eliminate the other possible reasons. The consequences of missing these rare reasons for similar symptoms can be serious.

The typical treatment for growing pains is simply reassurance of the child. They need to be comforted and helped to return to sleep. Soothing massage or rubbing of the leg will in most cases be useful. In some instances medication may be used to help the pain and ease the returning to sleep. Stretches before going to bed and when the pain occurs could also be useful. Of most importance is education regarding the nature of growing pains and that it will pass plus an evaluation of those potential uncommon and serious causes of the discomfort.