Growing pains in children have a very specific definition

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A lot of kids get pains and aches as they are growing and quite often they may be easily classed growing pains when they might not be or they might be something very serious. Just because a growing child has aches and pains while growing does not always mean that they're really a ‘growing pain’.

The real syndrome of Growing Pains typically happens about the ages of 4 to 5, but can occur up to age of about twelve. It generally occurs behind the knee and is commonly relieved by mild rubbing. The symptoms only happen during the night and don't happen through the day. If the symptoms happen during the day, then it is not growing pains. The condition is frequently self-limiting and treatment is not generally required. It can happens to around 15-30% of kids, so is quite common.

Even though the problem of a standard growing pains is benign, there are several possibly serious but rare conditions including infections and bone tumours that can produce similar symptoms, so that is why every case must be considered seriously and adequately investigated. There are occasionally horror stories in the news media of kids which had symptoms disregarded as growing pains, only to have one of these uncommon problems with extremely serious outcomes.

If the symptoms are producing distress and difficulties with sleeping then some treatment solutions are indicated. A lot of the treatment is aimed at not ignoring the symptoms as simply ‘growing pains’ and taking it seriously. The child and parents need to comprehend the self-limiting character of the symptoms. Typically just rubbing the painful region and sending the kid back to bed is useful. A hot pack may be put on the area to persuade the child back to bed and sleep. Stretching out of the calf muscles when it is bedtime can sometimes help. NSAID’s or anti-inflammatory drugs could be tried at night if the pains are waking up the child from sleep.