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Growing Pains in Children? Fact or Fiction?
Natural treatment for growing pains in the legs of young children
Does your child wake up in the middle of the night, sobbing because his legs hurt? Sometimes, it can be a frightening experience for children, especially when there is the combination of dark, quiet AND pain. It is a common problem among children, mostly boys, but increasingly, girls too, from the ages of 4 to 12 years old. If any of this sounds familiar, then your child is probably experiencing an episode of growing pains.
There is no firm evidence that there is such a thing as pain from growing, or that the growth of bones, joints, muscles, or anything else, causes pain. Because there is this lack of evidence, you hear the ridiculous argument that it doesn't exist, when clearly, the fact that you are stood at your childs bedside at 3 o'clock in the morning, trying to console them, would indicate otherwise.
There is little known about why these pains occur in children. Repeated physical examinations often show nothing out of the ordinary. Most doctors seem to agree that these pains and accelerated growth in children, whilst they appear connected, only appear connected, and in fact have very little to do with each other.
What signs should I look out for?
Typically, the child will complain of general pain, rather than specific pain, pointing in the general direction of the thighs or legs. Pain is often concentrated in the muscles, rather than the joints, but this may be referral pain along the tendons.
Try to remember back to the previous day. Did the child play hockey, football, rugby, or any other sport? Have they been skipping and pounding the tarmac playground? Did they fall or jump from a wall or a tree branch? Even playing at PowerRangers, running, jumping, climbing and stamping, these can all send shock waves through the joints, which may swell slightly, or cause fluid retention. Rapid bone growth may also cause muscles to overstretch during rough play. I have no evidence for this, but I can definitely see a relationship between activity during the day and the degree of pain at night. If you suspect your child has suffered trauma or injury in this way, you need to consult your childs doctor, to be on the safe side.
No matter how severe the pain was during the night, there should be no trace of it in the morning, and the child should return to normal activity. Don't be surprised, if you ask your child about these night pains, to find that they don't know what you're talking about. Unfortunately, this leads many parents to think their child is putting it on or just attention seeking, which of course is not the case.
On the other hand! If you discover your child has swollen joints, which are fiery to the touch, or red and tender, then this is not normal. Does movement increase the pain and does your child not like you to touch the painful area? Do they have a fever or an unexplained rash? These things are not growing pains and need to be investigated by your doctor.
I have found that the best thing to do is massage the affected area, usually the calves, backs of knees or the upper hamstring muscles, on the backs of the legs. Just be reactive to the symptoms. It is rare for this condition to require analgesics, and anyway, by the time they kick in, it's usually over. Sometimes, if the joints (usually the knees) are hot, a cold flannel is gentle enough to cool them, so that they can be massaged. Massage tends to heat them up more at the same time as dispersing the pain, so cooling them first can be quite soothing.
Pain will usually last from a few minutes up to an hour. But, there is always one similarity with this phenomenon. It is almost always gone by the morning. I have found that, where the pain has caused a child to tighten his muscles until they trigger cramp, either in the calf or upper leg muscles, this may still be sore, in the morning, expecially if the cramp was prolonged or severe.
Never chastise the child. This is not their fault! Despite what you've heard to the contrary, Growing Pains, even if that's not what they are, are a natural part of growing up. And boy, can they hurt? Your child is unlikely to be able to convincingly fake growing pains. They need our reassurance that the growing pains will be gone in a few minutes, which is of course, true in most cases.
I know this is hard, especially as you probably know you're going to have a really tough time getting back to sleep, and what with that hard day ahead of you tomorrow. And, all this on top of the hard day you had yesterday. And, the traffic, and the queues, and the boss, and the bills, and what's it going to be like getting him out of bed tomorrow and off to school, and everything else, like how am I going to fit in a doctors appointment on top of all this????
Come On!!! Get back to sleep!!! We need to get back to our beds. NOW!!!
See why it's so easy to get upset, even when you don't really mean too?
There is one consolation. Growing pains are usually intermittent and not a daily occurrence. This, at least, ensures that your sleep patterns will remain undisturbed for long stretches before you face the possibility of a bad night. The intensity of the pain varies at each episode, and from child to child. This usually has a direct bearing on the length of time it takes for the child to settle down again. The best part, is that, eventually, your child will grow out of them altogether.
One question I am often asked from the email link on this page is: How can I treat my child's growing pains? To answer this question, my son and I, have produced the DVD you see below. This was the very same techniques I used to treat him when he was small, and not so small, as you will see now. The DVD, and accompanying CD, show you in detail how to treat your child's growing pains quickly and easily. This means that you will know what to do instantly the pains manifest, during the night, in the dark, when they are in pain, crying, and, you will be able to quickly restore their calm and reduce their pain, naturally, without medication, and without panic.
The CD is there to help send them back to sleep, when the growing pains episode is over, and to allow you to feel confident that it is okay for you to go back to sleep too. If it was severe enough to wake them fully, this can sometimes be a problem in older children, the CD is there to help them drop off again in the shortest time.
If you have one child who experiences growing pains on a regular basis, then the Growing Pains in Childhood DVD and CD set will be a good investment because, potentially, you could have a child who may suffer repeat episodes over an 8 year period. This can make large emotional and physical demands on you, your child, your spouse, and other members of the family. A family with several children over a larger age range can perhaps all learn what to do and share some of the responsibilities as the older ones will also be affected by the younger members night time growing pains.
The Growing Pains in Childhood DVD and CD are available NOW!This article went live sometime around 2003. Since then I have had thousands of emails, usually from mum's (come on dad's, wake up) asking how to do the massage that I talk about here, how to console their children, who are in complete distress, and also what to do about getting them back to sleep. Well I'm pleased to say, my son, Jordan and I, have produced the answer. It is a DVD and a CD combination set.
What's on the DVD? The Growing Pains in Childhood DVD gives a full and visual explanation and demonstration of how to do the massage techniques, along with a wide variety of other things you can do straight away to relieve your child's growing pains. Part 2 of the DVD gives details of a simple night time exercise/stretch routine that you encourage your child to do prior to going to bed, to help prevent growing pains during the night. The DVD covers:
To learn more about the Growing Pains DVD and CD, or to order a copy worldwide, please click the link here:http://www.growingpains.co.uk
DISCLAIMER: This information is not presented by a medical practitioner and is for educational and informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read.|
The Haven Healing Centre is located at: The Orchard, Draycott Rd, Cheddar, Somerset, BS27 3RU