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September 08, 2022

How to help your child with growing pains

Children's Health Parenting

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Does your child complain of pain in the late afternoon only to have it disappear by the next morning? If you and your child’s doctor can’t find a cause, they may be suffering from growing pains.

Growing pains are aching or throbbing sensations that usually affect children between 2 and 12 years old. The pain typically occurs in their shins, calves, thighs, and behind the knees. The cause of growing pains isn’t known, but children that have them usually feel more discomfort after engaging in physical activity.

Although they’re not serious, growing pains can be uncomfortable enough to keep your child from getting a good night’s sleep. Fortunately, there are ways to help your child manage them and get relief. Here’s how:

1. Massage

Lightly rubbing the area where the pain is may help your child’s symptoms. Younger children may also want to be held or cuddled. A massage may help soothe the areas affected and relieve soreness or aching.

2. Stretching

Stretching not only helps to relieve existing pain; it can also help prevent it from occurring in the first place. Encourage your child to stretch the way they are taught in gym class, or show them how to stretch yourself. This is a great opportunity to help work stretching into their overall physical fitness, which will benefit them long after the years of growing pains have passed.

3. Heat

A heating pad can help soothe your child’s muscles if they are sore. Adjust the pad’s temperature to a low setting and place it on your child’s legs before they go to bed or while they drift off to sleep; just be sure to remove it once they do! A warm bath or other soak may have a similar effect before bedtime.

4. Pain medication

If all else fails, you can give your child a pain reliever. Just make sure you use a child-strength pain reliever, and if you need to use it regularly, consult with your child’s pediatrician.

Because growing pains often happen at night, it’s important to help your child get back to sleep if the pain wakes them up. Restless nights will only make managing the stress of growing pains even more difficult.

Remember: growing pains are a normal part of being a kid. And with a little help, you and your child can manage them together.

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