Adults are not the only ones who experience aches and pains in their joints. As many as 10-20% of children complain of vague recurrent leg pain especially at night, this pain is usually located deep in the leg usually in the thigh, knee or calf. These symptoms are commonly dismissed as ‘growing pains‘. This may not be the case and some easily treatable problems may go ignored. While it seems reasonable to accept that the pain is due to growth, why does this condition occur only in the legs, and not other parts of the body that grow, such as the arms, fingers and nose?
Growing pains occur during the very active years of adolescence. Jolts, twists and stresses of energetic play can result in the joints of the spine not functioning at their optimal level, this intern may affect the nerves controlling the legs, knees, pelvis and hips. All of these nerve and joint problems can manifest themselves in leg pain. Studies into growing pains have identified a number of conditions that may contribute to growing pains, including rapid growth, overexertion, rheumatic conditions, infections, sacroiliac joint dysfunction, orthopaedic problems and underlying poor health1.
If your child has been diagnosed with growing pains, a visit to the chiropractor can be beneficial (Alcantara et.al.2). A physical assessment can ensure that any leg and back pains are not the result of underlying spinal problems such as scoliosis. Scoliosis is a lateral curvature of the spine away from the normal accepted curves of the spine.
This causes strain on joints and if left untreated can lead to premature degeneration, bad posture and gait (walking), painful movement and permanent spinal dysfunction. Children tend to experience more incidents of back pain than older generations although not as many children undergo treatment for these complaints. Around 84% of back complaints in children extend into adulthood and become a chronic problem.
Treatment in the early stages as a child has greater improvement in pain and mobility than if the problem becomes chronic into adulthood. Children have faster healing capabilities and more mobility and flexibility in the joints to accommodate this. It is also important for children to maintain their flexibility during growth spurts. The chiropractors at Back to Basics Chiropractic can recommend appropriate stretching and strengthening exercises to reduce overall muscle tension. This will allow children to perform in regular childhood activities free of pain and tension.
Chiropractic is a safe and natural way to ease the pain and discomfort associated with growing pains.
1. “Growing pains” in young children: A study of the profile, experiences and quality of life issues of four to six year old children with recurrent leg pain A. Evans, S. Scutter, L. Lang, B. Dansie 16(3), 120-124
2. Complement TherClinPract. 2011 Feb;17(1):28-32. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2010.08.006. The chiropractic care of children with “growing pains”: a case series and systematic review of the literature. Alcantara J, Davis J.