Growing pains!

16 Dec

My son Nicholas complains sometimes about pain in his legs and joints. He is a very active teenage boy. Besides playing soccer four times a week he is kicking the soccer ball nonstop at home. I think that his muscles are fatigued and he needs to rest. My husband on the other hand is very sure that Nicholas is having growing pains, but according to Mayo Clinic, the cause of growing pains is unknown and there is no evidence that a child’s growth is painful.

growing-painsGrowing pains don’t usually happen where growth is occurring or during times of rapid growth, instead it is suggested that growing pains may be linked to restless legs syndrome. But muscle pain at night from overuse during the day is thought to be the most likely cause of growing pains.

Growing pains usually cause an aching feeling in the legs. This pain often occurs in the front of the thighs, the calves or behind the knees. Usually both legs hurt. Some children may also experience abdominal pain or headaches during episodes of growing pains. The pain doesn’t occur every day. It comes and goes. Growing pains often strike in the late afternoon or early evening and disappear by morning. Sometimes the pain awakens a child in the middle of the night.

It is best to consult your child’s doctor if you’re concerned about your child’s leg pain, if the pain is persistent or if the pain is still present in the morning and it is severe enough to interfere with your child’s normal activities.

You can help ease your child’s discomfort with these home remedies:

  • Rub your child’s legs. Children often respond to gentle massage.
  • Use a heating pad. Heat can help soothe sore muscles. Use a heating pad on a low setting before bedtime or when your child complains of leg pain.
  • Stretching exercises. Stretching the muscles in the legs during the day may help prevent pain at night. Ask your doctor what stretches might help.

Since the skeleton is being built during the teen years, it is important to eat foods rich in calcium to make the skeleton strong. Food rich in calcium are: Dairy products, including low fat milk, yoghurt, cheese, eating 2-3 serves every day, calcium-fortified soy milk, canned fish (eg. salmon or sardines), certain nuts (eg. almonds, hazelnuts), dried beans & peas (eg. chickpeas, kidney beans), lentils and wholegrain breads & cereals (eg wholegrain bread, brown rice, porridge).

It will be also a good idea to limit the intake of colas. Colas contain phosphoric acid and some studies suggest that too much of it in the body can interfere with the calcium absorption.

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