So what are the possible causes:
- Overuse of big muscles
- Joint misalignment such as alignment of the knees or feet
- Psychological factors
- We know that the first 5 years of a child’s life is when they have the greatest spinal growth. During the 1st year, the spine increases by 12cm, between 1-5 years, the spine increases by 15cm, between 5-10 years, there is 10cm growth and between 10-18 years, 15-20cm growth. This means if something was to interfere with this growth such as injury, birth trauma or sedentary lifestyle, problems may arise.
So what do we know about growing pains?
- The pain is usually in both legs
- It most often will come on in the afternoon or at night.
- It is most common between ages 2-12 and is usually gone by puberty.
- In order to be classified as growing pains there should be no signs of redness or swelling, no history of trauma and no decreased movement or limping.
- There appears to be no difference in the amount of exercise or activity between those children with and those without growing pains.
- There appears to be a family history of growing pains in the child’s sibling or parent.
- The growing pains tend to occur at intervals of 1 to 3 months.
What can be done?
- Look at your child’s knees and feet – Do their shoes fit? Are they too worn? Do they require orthotics?
- A little investigation of wellbeing - What are their muscles doing? Are they dehydrated? Are they mineral or vitamin deficient? Magnesium deficiency is a common cause of leg cramps. Do they require more vegetables and fruit to give them nourishment to alleviate cramps or help with neurological development?
- Do they need to stretch? This includes hamstrings, quadriceps and lower back muscles.
- What is happening in their spine and nerves. Have they fallen over and irritated joint or nerve function in their pelvis or lower back? Have they been sitting too much or with bad posture? (This is where chiropractic comes in!)
Important note: there is a strong link between the legs, spine and pelvis. The muscles, nerves and joints in these regions can affect the other regions in the chain. Any interruption in the nerves running between the lumbar spine and the legs can impair function and cause pain. This is not to say that this is the whole cause of growing pains but studies are showing that treatment of these regions along with the legs themselves can help in resolving the problem.