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Helping Your Child Through Growing Pains

Updated on February 8, 2010

We work hard to take care of our kids and we work hard to make sure that they have the best. So, when they are in pain we worry and wonder what it is we should be doing. This is always true, but nothing is harder than trying to understand growing pains and trying to figure out what to do about them.

What's in a name?

Often things are named so because that's what they do or that's who discovered them. With growing pains the name came about because of when children experience them. One in three children will experience pain in their legs between three and five years and or eight and twelve years. Because these are key growing times it was thought that these pains were actually associated with growing.

Doctors and researchers have now discovered that growing pains aren't caused from growing. No matter how fast a growth spurt is, it is still too slow to cause pain in the muscles.

Sadly this doesn't change the fact that many children will feel pain. There are a few guesses as to why these pains happen, but no hard evidence on any of it. However, no matter what really causes these pains they are hard for our children to handle. 


The symptoms of growing pains are fairly straight forward. They start sometime between late afternoon to the next morning. Often times they begin before bed or they can cause your child to wake up in the night. Usually described as an aching the pains happen in the muscles of the leg including the thighs, calves, and right behind the knee and these pains occur in both legs. Some doctors say that the pains in the legs can also be accompanied by lower belly pain and headaches, but his is much rarer.

Leg pain late in the day and over night is often caused from growing pains. However, there are other reasons that your child could be experiencing leg pain. If your child has other symptoms such as a joint swelling, limping, weight loss, or fever then you should go into your doctor. It is also important that you take your child to the doctor if your child still has pain in the morning or if your child is in so much pain that he or she is unable to do the things that other children of that age group do (run, play, and so forth).

What You Can Do

There aren't any great answers when it comes to helping your child through growing pains. However, there are a few things that you can do that will indeed help. Try a few of them and see what works best at making your child comfortable and what also works best for your family.

  • Stretch the muscles out. This can be done before bed if your child is having common growing pain issues. Often this can help relieve pain and also help stop it before it starts.
  • Pain relievers. You can give your child a dose of ibuprofen or acetaminophen to help with the pain. 
  • Massage. Gently massage the muscles that hurt.
  • Add a touch of heat. You can use a heating pad or a hot water bottle to gently warm the sore areas. A rice, wheat, or lentils can be put into a cloth bag and warmed in the microwave.
  • Bath. A warm bath can be very nice and you can add a relaxing lavender scent for even better results.

Growing pains are never fun. The best thing that you can do for your child is work to keep them calm and comfortable. The good news is that growing pains often stop between five and eight and are never heard from again after about twelve. Everyone grows out of growing pains!


Submit a Comment
  • ezzy1512 profile image


    7 years ago

    Great hub.

  • marieryan profile image

    Marie Ryan 

    8 years ago from Andalusia, Spain

    This is very reassuring for young mums, Aidenofthetower.

    Love them to bits and they will get through it!

  • itakins profile image


    8 years ago from Irl

    Interesting hub-Some of my children complained of this pain and with nothing else diagnosed-it always fell back to growing pains-maybe we should just continue to call it that:)


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