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  • Writer's pictureIan Shepstone

Understanding and Alleviating Growing Pains in Children

Childhood is a time of remarkable growth and development, but it can also come with an uncomfortable companion - growing pains. Often dismissed as a normal part of growing up, these pains can significantly affect a child's daily life and well-being. In this article, we will explore what growing pains are, when they typically occur, their symptoms, and how parents can help ease their child's discomfort.

What Are Growing Pains?

Growing pains are recurring discomforts that many children experience as they grow. These pains are typically felt in the legs and are most common in early childhood and during growth spurts in adolescence. While they can be distressing, growing pains are usually harmless and tend to resolve on their own.

When Do Growing Pains Occur?

Growing pains often begin in early childhood, around the ages of 3 to 5, and may reoccur throughout a child's growth years. They tend to peak during two periods: early childhood and later during preadolescence and adolescence when rapid growth phases occur. The duration and intensity of growing pains can vary from child to child.

Signs and Symptoms of Growing Pains

Growing pains are characterized by:

  1. Location: They typically occur in the legs, often in the front of the thighs, the calves, or behind the knees. Both legs are usually affected.

  2. Timing: Growing pains usually manifest in the late afternoon, evening, before bedtime, or even at night. This timing can disrupt a child's sleep.

  3. Intermittent: These pains come and go and may last from minutes to hours. They are not constant.

  4. Absence in the Morning: Children with growing pains usually wake up without pain in the morning.

  5. Other Symptoms: Some children with growing pains may experience headaches or abdominal discomfort, though these are less common.

Factors That Influence Growing Pains

While the exact cause of growing pains remains unclear, several factors are believed to contribute:

  1. Growth Spurts: During growth spurts, bones grow rapidly, placing additional stress on muscles, ligaments, and nerves. This heightened bone development can lead to temporary musculoskeletal imbalances, potentially causing discomfort.

  2. Muscle Fatigue and Overuse: Active children who engage in physical activities may experience muscle fatigue and overuse. Growing pains might be more common after a particularly active day.

  3. Neurological Factors: Some children, especially those with Sensory Processing Disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorder, or anxiety, may be more sensitive to the discomfort associated with growth spurts.

  4. Subluxation and Dysautonomia: Subluxation, a misalignment of the spine, and dysautonomia, an imbalanced autonomic nervous system, might play a role in growing pains. These conditions can be triggered by birth trauma and early life stressors.

Managing Growing Pains with Chiropractic Care

Neurologically-Focused Chiropractic Care offers a unique approach to supporting children experiencing growing pains. Instead of waiting for them to "grow out of it," chiropractors address the root cause immediately to help children cope with hypersensitivity to physical activity and discomfort.

Chiropractors start with an in-depth case history and consultation to understand potential triggers of a child's growing pains. They often use INSiGHT Scans, a specialized technology, to identify subluxations and dysautonomia, quantifying their severity and pinpointing areas that need attention.

Through gentle Neuro-Tonal Adjustments, chiropractors address subluxations and help restore balance to the nervous system. This promotes healthy neuromuscular function, range of motion, and overall comfort during growth. Additionally, chiropractic care can lead to better sleep quality for children, reducing disruptions caused by growing pains.

In conclusion, while growing pains are a common part of childhood, they don't have to disrupt a child's life. Understanding their causes and seeking chiropractic care can help children manage and alleviate growing pains, ensuring a smoother journey through the exciting phases of growth and development.


Sprout Family Chiropractic is located in Plymouth, Michigan

We specialize in pediatric and pregnancy focused Chiropractic care

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