Although it may seem like your child is faking it, growing pains are real – in a sense. There isn’t actually any pain involved with growth because it happens so slowly, but there are symptoms like achy legs and cramped muscles that usually affect children between the ages of 3-4 and 8-12 and are commonly referred to as “growing pains.” The cause here is actually not growth, but overexertion, children tend to play hard and not realize how much stress they’re putting on their muscles.
What Growing Pains Are and Are Not
Below is a table illustrating how growing pains usually present in children. If your child is having symptoms in the right hand column, schedule a visit with us to rule out any possible issues.
Treatment for growing pains:
To treat growing pains, you can massage your child’s legs or apply warm compresses to the affected area. Warm baths can also help relieve symptoms. Consider implementing “break times” during play sessions, so your child is less likely to put too much strain on his or her muscles, or encourage your child to pursue multiple types of activities so different muscle groups are being used. If your doctor has approved the use of over the counter pain relievers, it’s okay to use those as recommended.
When to Call Your Doctor
Make an appointment to see your doctor if your child has any of the symptoms in the right hand column above or if you notice fever, limping, or skin rashes. Your physician will want to do a thorough exam and work up to make sure there are not any other conditions or problems.