A lot of kids get pains and aches as they are growing and quite often they are easily classed growing pains when they may not be or they may be something really serious. Simply because a growing child has symptoms while growing does not mean that they are can be a ‘growing pain’.
The actual syndrome of growing pains typically occurs around the ages of 4 to 5, but could occur up to age of around 12. It usually occurs behind the knee and is generally relieved by gentle massage. The symptoms only happen during the night and do not occur in the daytime. If the discomfort happen during the day, then it’s not really growing pains. The disorder is normally self-limiting and treatment is not necessarily needed. It can happens to as much as 15-30% of children, so is very common.
While the problem of a typical growing pains is benign, there are many different sometimes serious but uncommon conditions for example infections and bone cancers that can have very similar signs and symptoms, so that is the reason why every case really need to be considered seriously and meticulously investigated. There are occasionally horror reports in the news media of kids who had pains overlooked as growing pains, and then have one of these uncommon problems with serious consequences.
When the symptoms are leading to distress and problems with sleeping then some treatment solutions are recommended. A lot of the treatment is directed at not neglecting the symptoms as just ‘growing pains’ and taking it seriously. The child and parents should understand the self-limiting character of the symptoms. Generally just rubbing the painful area and sending the child back to bed is useful. A hot pack could also be put on the region to persuade the child back to bed and sleep. Stretches of the calf muscles before going to sleep can sometimes help. NSAID’s or anti-inflammatory medicines could be used at bedtime if the pains are waking the kid from sleep.