Growth spurts and growing pains
If your child wakes up with throbbing legs, you may wonder if you should take him to the doctor. The best thing is to reassure him and explain what’s happening – the skeleton’s being formed.
These growing pains are completely normal. The most likely causes are aches and discomfort caused by physical activity during the day. The pains are concentrated in the muscles rather than the joints. Growth spurts are linked to sexual development, so puberty brings pubic and underarm hair, fully developed sexual organs, and periods for girls.
Because your child’s limbs grow at different rates, he may sometimes feel clumsy, weak, and uncoordinated. This is because his nervous system is trying to adjust to the rapid period of growth. His ligaments and tendons get tighter and he may get pains in his knees during exercise. Therefore, teach you child the importance of stretching properly before and after exercise. Check how your child responds to touch when he’s in pain.
Children with serious medical conditions may not like to be touched, as touch intensifies the pain. But a child with growing pains feels better when he’s massaged, touched, and held.
The following may help your child with growing pains:
· Offer him lots of cuddles and reassurance
· Massage the painful area
· Manually stretch your child’s legs
· Put a heated pad on the painful area
· Paracetamol or ibuprofen in the appropriate dose for his age may help
· Explain what’s happening to him and why it hurts sometimes