Some children, but not all, can experience pain especially at night time when they go through large growth spurts.  Kids grow at night time while they sleep.  That’s why it seems that your kids seem taller when they wake up and that’s because they have grown. The bones grow from the growth plates, parts of which are still soft in childhood and made up of cartilage instead of bone.  Bone cells are added from these growth plates and the muscles are put on stretch, beyond their existing size thus causing pain.  The muscles will adapt and grow, but in the meantime whilst the growth of the bone is faster than the growth of the muscles, this may cause aching pain in the legs or arms.

So what can you do for your child?

  1. Firstly, simple pain relief such as children’s Panadol and Neurofen are really good in settling the pain in about 15 minutes and allowing your child to sleep.
  2. Secondly, you can gently massage the muscles, especially the calf muscles to help relieve some of the muscle pain before the Panadol/Neurofen kick in.  But be gentle, these muscles are sore from being stretched.
  3. Thirdly, don’t panic.  This isn’t long term, it’s just whilst your child is going through their current growth spurt and will settle when this growth spurt is over.

If your child describes different symptoms, such as a sharp pain, burning sensation and not a soreness in their legs or arms, but a different description of the pain, or they generally feel or look unwell, different to their normal selves, see your doctor or physiotherapist for an opinion.  There is never any harm in doing so if you are worried.

For more information, email michael.dermansky@mdhealth.com.au.

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