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Does Your Child Have Growing Pains?

Every now and then, my son wakes up in the middle of the night screaming of pain in his legs. Does this happen to your children?

Apparently, the pain my son is having is caused from growing pains. He’s legs begin to cramp, ache and sometimes become swollen.

According to WebMD, growing pains are cramping, achy muscle pains that some preschoolers and preteens feel in both legs. The pain usually occurs in the late afternoon or evenings. But it may cause your child to wake up in the middle of the night.Growing pains usually start in early childhood, around age 3 or 4. They tend to strike again in kids aged 8-12.

Causes of Growing Pains

Despite the name “growing pains,” there is no firm evidence that growing pains are linked to growth spurts.Instead, growing pains may simply be muscle aches due to intense childhood activities that can wear your child’s muscles out. These activities include running, jumping, and climbing. Growing pains seem to be more common after a kid has a particularly full day of sports.

Symptoms of Growing Pains

  • Some kids have a lot of pain, others do not. Most kids do not have pain every day.
  • Growing pains can come and go.
  • The pain is usually felt in the late afternoon and evening, right before dinner time, and at bedtime. The leg pains may hurt so much that they may wake your child from sleep.
  • If your child seems perfectly fine in the morning, don’t be quick to think he or she was faking. Growing pains disappear in the morning.
  • In general, growing pains are felt in both legs, especially in the front of the thighs, back of legs (calves), or behind the knees.
  • Studies suggest that children who have growing pains may be more sensitive to pain.

Treatment of growing pains depends on how much pain your child has. The following things may ease discomfort and help your child feel better:

  • Massaging the legs
  • Stretching the leg muscles. This may be difficult for younger kids.
  • Placing a warm cloth or heating pad on the sore leg. Be careful not to burn the skin and do not use during sleep.

If the pain does not get better, ask your health care provider if it’s OK to give your child an over-the-counter pain medicine, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Ask about the appropriate dose for your child. Never give aspirin to a child. Aspirin use in children has been linked to a life-threatening disease called Reye’s syndrome.

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