What causes growing pains in children and should you be concerned with them?
Lots of things get called as “growing pains” but merely because there's pain in a developing child does not always mean it is a true growing pain. It is easy to dismiss pain in a growing child as this. A genuine growing pain only occurs at night and not in the daytime. The pain is also in the upper calf muscle and behind the knee. If the pain occurs in the daytime and in another place than the back of the leg and knee, then it's not really a true growing pain and is most likely due to another thing which should be investigated. Typically, it only happens in younger kids and awakens the child at night. There is no history of trauma or any kind of damage to the area which the pain happens in.
Growing pains are usually somewhat benign and self-limiting, in that they do come right after a while. However, they could be distressing to the child and parents at the time and, more importantly, there are several very serious and uncommon disorders that may have signs comparable to growing pains, therefore each case does need to be given serious attention and looked into to rule out the other possible causes. The repercussions of neglecting these rare causes of similar symptoms can be serious.
The normal management of growing pains is just reassurance of the child. They should be comforted and helped to return to sleep. Gentle massage or rubbing of the leg will in most cases help. In some cases medication may be used to help the pain and relieve the getting back to sleep. Stretching out before going to bed and if the pain occurs might also be useful. Of most importance is education concerning the nature of growing pains and that it will pass plus an assessment of those possible rare and serious reasons for the pain.