Definition

Growing pains are the "pains" children complain of during their growth spurt years.

Diagnosis

Growing pains are generally described as an ache or throb in the legs - often in the front of the thighs, the calves or behind the knees. Typically both legs hurt. Growing pains usually strike in the late afternoon or early evening and disappear by morning. There are time when the pain awakens a child in the middle of the night.

Treatment

There is no specific treatment for growing pains, but the following can help ease the child's discomfort: rubbing and stretching the child's legs, and using a heating pad or pain reliever.

Symptoms

There's no evidence or proof that a child's growth is painful. However, running, climbing and jumping can be too much on a child's musculoskeletal system. Muscle pain at night from overuse during the day is the most probable cause of growing pains. The pains can happen after a child has had a particularly athletic day.

Causes

One symptom that doctors find most helpful in making a diagnosis of growing pains is how the child responds to touch while experiencing pain. Children who have pain for a serious medical disease don't like to be handled because movement tends to worsen the pain. But children with growing pains respond differently, like they feel better when they're held, massaged, and cuddled.