Monday, March 29, 2010

Are Growing Pains Real?

Do you have a child that wakes up screaming in the middle of the night? Children under the age of ten often experience a condition know as 'growing pains'. Many people do not believe in this mysterious pain, but many others do believe in it. Growing pains are not a disease and right now there is no evidence to support the fact that some people say their children are experiencing these pains. Do not just brush your child off when they are complaining about them, however. Simply comforting them and doing little things like massaging their legs or putting heat packs on their legs may be all they need to soothe the pain.

By the time children reach their teenage years, the growing pains typically stop. It is important to recognize that not every child will experience this phenomenon. However, sometimes growing pains are evidence of another underlying condition that is quite serious.

What are growing pains?

Growing pains normally reside in the legs and they cause the legs to throb and ache. Some children describe them as cramping in the legs similar to the pain you experience from tight muscles or a 'Charlie horse.' The pain typically happens in both legs and it can be intense, causing the child to wake up crying in the middle of the night. Headaches and abdominal cramping often are part of the pain they experience with the leg pains. The pain occurs in the middle of the night or in the early evening.

How to treat growing pains

Although many people do not believe that growing pains exist, they are very real to children that have a mysterious pain in their legs. Parents can treat this condition by doing the following:

* Exercise. One of the best ways to help relieve the pain in the legs is to encourage exercise. Make sure your children are getting plenty of exercise each day in order to keep the body growing properly. Exercise also helps to get the mind off the pain they may be feeling and the soreness they will experience will come from exercise.

* Massage their legs. Another thing you can do to help relieve the pain in their legs is to start massaging their legs each day before they go to bed. A gentle massage is a great way to reassure them that you are always going to be there for them and you will try to take away their pain.
* Hold them. Sometimes children just need to be held. While they aren't babies anymore, having a little time to cuddle up in your arms is a reassuring way to show them you care.

* Stretching. Another great way to relieve the pain in the legs is to teach your children how to stretch their legs. Stretching helps to keep the muscles limber and loose, allowing them to experience less pain when they are exercising. Make stretching part of your daily routine and encourage your children to stretch with you each morning and each evening before bedtime.

* Warm bath. Laying in a warm bath can relieve muscle pain. Heat is a great way to soothe sore muscles. Use a heating pad if they wake up in the middle of the night with growing pains. Just make sure you turn it off once your child falls asleep.

* Pain relievers. If nothing else seems to work, try using a mild pain reliever. Tylenol is a great pain reliever for muscle pain.

Should you consult a doctor?

If your child has persistent pain and it lasts longer than 24 hours, see a doctor. There may be a serious problem. Always see a doctor if the pain is caused from an injury like a fall on the playground. Swelling, redness, tenderness, limping, and other signs are symptoms of a serious condition and you should seek medical attention.

This article is not meant to replace the advice of a medical professional

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Are Growing Pains Real?

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