Growing pains are a very commonly misdiagnosed condition

Most kids get discomfort as they are growing and frequently they may be quickly labelled growing pains when they might not be or they may be something very serious. Simply because a growing youngster has aches and pains while growing does not always mean that they're really a ‘growing pain’.

The actual syndrome of Growing Pains commonly occurs about the ages of 4 to 5, but may happen up to age of about 12. This commonly happens behind the knee and is generally relieved by gentle rubbing. The pains only happen at night and don't occur during the day. If the symptoms occurs during the day, then it is not really growing pains. The disorder is generally self-limiting and treatment is not necessarily needed. It can occur in around 15-30% of children, so is really common.

Whilst the condition of a textbook growing pains is benign, there are many different possibly serious but rare conditions for example infections and bone tumours that can have identical symptoms, so that is the reason why every growing pain should be given serious attention and thoroughly looked into. There are often horror reports in the news media of kids whom had pains dismissed as growing pains, only to have one of those rare problems with serious consequences.


In the event the symptoms are producing distress and issues with sleeping then some treatment is indicated. Most of the treatment is directed at not neglecting the symptoms as just ‘growing pains’ and taking it seriously. The child and parents need to comprehend the self-limiting character of the symptoms. Normally just massaging the painful area and sending the child back to bed is useful. A hot pack could also be applied to the area to encourage the child back to bed and sleep. Stretching of the calf muscles when it is bedtime can sometimes help. NSAID’s or anti-inflammatory drugs can be used at bedtime if the pains are waking up the kid from sleep.


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