“You’ll be better before you’re married” – My Mammy
Growing pains can be a very difficult experience for both parents and children. It is estimated that up to 40% of children experience growing pains which can be excruciating and incapacitating. A little like teething, growing pains are often seen as inevitable and something that must simply be endured.
Growing pains are most commonly attributed to periods of sudden growth, where the long bones in particular stretch at a great length in a short amount of time. It is not however, in the bones that the pains originate but in the soft tissues. The reason being is as the bones grow longer and quickly the muscles, tendons and ligaments are stretched at a painful rate. For this reason pain is almost always experienced in both legs and usually in the thighs and calves. Another theory is that pains may be caused by all the running, jumping and training that many children participate in multiple sports at the same time which may explain why pains are most often experienced later in the day or during the night but, better in the morning.
Assessment by a Chartered Physiotherapist will assist establishing the root cause of the problem and identify effective strategies to assist alleviating symptoms. Manual therapy can assist problematic muscles and make it easier to stretch them out. As every child has different physical abilities and limitations the Chartered Physiotherapist will determine which muscles are most problematic and which stretches will be most effective at reducing pain. General exercises could exercise the wrong muscles or exercise them in the incorrect way which would not only be a waste of time but, could make them worse.
Growing pains typically occur periodically over several months but, can last for over a year. They can be quite frequent with some children experiencing pain almost every night so identifying the root cause and following the correct programme can save parents and children from long drawn out period of pain, not only ensuring your children are comfortable but also, that they stay active, happy and you all get a good nights sleep.
“Growing old is mandatory, Growing up is optional”