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Kids Growing pains?

Growing pains in kids, is, quite literally a pain! So do we just have moany kids? Or what is going on and how can we help them.

What causes Growing Pains?

Kids grow at an incredible rate, but when they grow, it is their bones that are growing, their poor muscles have to adapt to this growth and for a while, that creates a stretch in the muscles. How often do you put your child to bed at night and in the morning, when you look at them, you could swear they are taller than when they went to bed…. yes this really can happen. When we sleep, our bodies secrete a growth hormone which literally encourages growth and helps our muscles to repair.

So the bone remodelling means the bone will literally grow longer and thicker and this affects the muscles that attach to the bone. If the bone gets longer, the muscle will stretch and therefore become tighter. This leads to aching muscles, same as if you went to the gym but didn’t stretch afterwards. Aching muscles are known as Growing Pains.

So how can we help kids with growing pains?

The big message here is that kids need to be active and they need to stretch. If your child starts going through trousers and shoes at an increadible rate, you can assume they are having a growth spurt. Now is the time to act! While those bones are growing, help them to do some stretching, give them a warm bath, a heat pack to rest on their legs. Or even better book them in for a Sports Massage.

Movements are also really useful when kids are growing. Movement helps get blood to the muscles and creates heat that allows the muscle to adapt. Taking them to the pool is a great way to encourage movement. The warm water will also help relax the muscles and the movement will help the muscle adapt to its new position.

Why do my child’s knees hurt when growing?

We will commonly see children in the clinic who are complaining of sore knees just after a growth spurt. The knees are particularly susceptible to pain during a growth spurt due to the patella or kneecap. The muscles of the quadriceps form around this bone and when we grow we rarely do it in a uniform manner. The quadriceps are made up of 4 muscles that need to function correctly and together for optimal performance. So if one or two of these muscles are under excess strain from a bone growth, it can change the angle of the patella bone and create growing pains.

Kids can also get a condition called Osgood Schlatters, which is when inflammation occurs due to the tugging of the patella tendon, usually due to excess force because of a growth. In response to this excess tugging, the body creates more bone to protect the tendon and this causes problems as it alters the force angle of the quadriceps and creates tension and pain. Usually kids grow out of this, but the force angle remains which can cause issues. Again a regular sports massage during growth spurts can really help with those growing pains.

My child is sporty, will they have more issues with growth spurts?

We have certainly found that children who are more sporty tend to complain more of pain during a growth spurt. When we do lots of sport, our muscles tighten. If you then add on a growth spurt, the muscle gets even tighter and you have the perfect recipe for growing pains. However, sporty children have, generally, strong and adaptable muscles and usually with a couple of sports massage sessions, their pain resolves.

Some children, whether sporty or not, will need a few exercises prescribed, to realign the muscles, if their growth spurt has left them imbalanced. The great thing about kids though, is that they respond really quickly to both Sports Massage and Exercise.

Does gaming affect growing pains

Our children love to game but, gaming can exacerbate growing pains. If your child is sitting hunched over their iPad or console, their muscles are in a poor postural position. Often their shoulders round and their heads come forward. We see this in our son and it is a constant battle to get him to sit better while playing. So these muscles are already under tension. Then add in a growth spurt and the muscles get even tighter and your child starts to complain about headaches, shoulder pain etc.

Again, the solution is stretching or Massage or alter the gaming position. Try to get your child to lean back when they game, rather than hunch over. 😀 👍

So if your child is struggling, bring them in and we can quickly solve those growing pains. Or, be proactive and as soon as they start growing out of those trousers or shoes, book them in for a loosen and beat the pain.