Growing pains. What are they and what to do.
As a child I remember being woken in the middle of the night with my little brother in pain from ‘growing pains’. Mum feverishly applying the Dencorub trying to give him relief from the discomfort. Now I’m a mother of an active boy, I’ve experienced the same wake up calls and felt the same desperation, trying to comfort him (and especially as it’s usually in the middle of the night, when much needed sleep beckons).
In this post I share what growing pains are, what causes them and some natural remedies to help alleviate them.
What are growing pains?
Not every child gets growing pains, however approximately 40 – 60% of children do. Typically they occur at night in children’s legs, between the ages of 3 – 12 years old. The pain can be in the upper part of the legs, the calves (back of the legs below knees) or behind the knees in both or one leg, usually both.
They happen at night as the body naturally goes into repair and build mode. The pain is most likely to come and go and not occur every night.
What causes them?
While it’s still unclear of the exact cause, the research I’ve done points toward nutrient deficiencies. For example, a study of children experiencing growing pains (and no other conditions) showed that only 6% had normal vitamin D levels. The best source of vitamin D and the one most easily metabolised (used) by our bodies is sunshine. Other supplemental sources we use is a fermented cod liver oil.
Personally, my son would experience them after an active day of physical exercise. This isn’t the case for all kids though.
Rubbing magnesium oil into my son’s legs helped to give him instant relief. Magnesium is known as the “nerve mineral” and is a nutrient we can quickly become deficient in. It helps relax the muscles and the nervous system.
I’ve also used magnesium with a soothing essential oil blend to help relieve the pain.
The common belief is that children’s bones are growing faster than the muscles and tendons, however bones grow slowly and usually there’s no damage seen in the child’s bones or muscles. Growing pains often respond to simple treatments – helping dispel the belief it’s associated with “growing pains”.
Natural remedies that help replenish deficiencies and relax the body:
- Epsom salt baths
- Heat packs
- Essential oils, e.g. a soothing blend
- Regular stretching exercises
- More time outdoors
- Vitamin D supplementation
- Magnesium oil
- B vitamins
Something else to consider.
Are there mal-absorption issues? Is there anything that might be slowing down or preventing the absorption of nutrients in your child, e.g. gut flora (microbiome) imbalances, toxicity overload or compromised detoxification pathways?
If the pain persists visit your health practitioner for a full check up.