Your child wakes up crying at night and complaining of leg pain? Despite your concerns about his suffering, he may just be growing up!
When my daughter was 5 years old, she suffered from pain in her legs. A visit to the doctor gave me a diagnosis of "growing pains".
Growing pains affect 3-37% of children. They usually strike during two main periods: in infancy between 3 and 5 years old and, later, between 8 and 12 years old.
No one really knows what causes growing pains, although they tend to run in the same families and seem to disappear on their own in late childhood.
According to Goodyear-Smith, “Growing pains are usually bilateral, intermittent, non-articular pain in the legs that occurs in the evening or at night in children 3-12 years of age. The diagnosis of growing pains is one of exclusion. 1 Interestingly, despite the name "growing pains", this pain doesn't seem to be really related to growth.
Here are the common symptoms for back paingrowth2
- For 2 out of 3 children, the pain is either in the shins, calves, thighs or behind the knees.
- The pain is almost always on both sides.
- The pain usually appears towards the end of the day or night, often waking the child.
- The duration of the pain can vary from a few minutes to a few hours.
- The intensity can range from mild to very severe.
- In the morning, the child is almost always painless.
- There are no objective signs of inflammation on physical examination.
- Pain comes in episodes, with pain-free periods lasting from a few days to a few months, although the pain may also be present every day.
- 43% of children have episodes of growing pains at least once a week.
- Parents can often predict when the child will feel pain after days of increased activity.
If you think your child is suffering from growing pains, it is important to visit your doctor to rule out other potential conditions, especially if the pain is on one side only or is accompanied by swelling.
The point of view of a certified naturopath is that growing pains are rather related to an imbalance in the assimilation of certain minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, silica and fluoride. Excess sugar and protein can also unbalance the child's body. Sugar is very acidifying for the body.
Let me tell you my story. My daughter suffered from leg pain, especially when falling asleep. At first we didn't know why, but one day I noticed that every time she ate a large amount of ground beef, i.e. two meals in a row, she always suffered from growing pains in her legs in the evening!
It has been observed that children who consume a lot of dairy products are more likely to suffer from growing pains than other children. We must not forget that milk is a food rich in protein and that it is possible to abuse it. Excess protein acidifies tissues and can cause bone pain, muscle aches, and even irritability and fatigue. Beef is the most acidifying meat. Also be aware that foods from animal sources are rich in arachidonic acid which stimulates inflammation, and therefore pain.
- Reduce the consumption of dairy products and red meats.
- Cut out sugars, juices, chocolate soy milk, cookies and candies.
- Give him nuts and seeds. Try sunflower and pumpkin seeds or nut butters such as almond or sesame butter, an excellent source of calcium.
- Prefer fish rich in omega-3, 2-3 times a week: herring, mackerel, sardines, salmon. Omega-3swill help fight inflammation.
Other practical tips
Nothing better than the warm hands of a dad or a mom to relieve the pain of the child. A massage is excellent for calming and relaxing and also for relieving pain from sore muscles. You can use arnica in the form of arnica oil or even in the form of a cream. I also like to use an oil to which I add a few drops of lavender essential oil. Lavender soothes and calms the child, helping him to fall asleep.
- Don't forget the benefits of a hot water bath in which you can add a lavender product.
- Try Biochemical S alt 13+. 2-3 tablets once or twice a day, before meals, for 2-3 months. This product helps to rebalance the assimilation of minerals in the body.
Be aware that a lack of vitamin D may have a role in growing pains in children. All children with these pains should be tested for their vitamin D status. Research shows that only 6% of children with growing pains had normal vitamin D levels!3
Growing pains are preventable and unnecessary in childhood. Food is always linked to the he alth of the body. Do not hesitate to consult a certified naturopath in order to optimize your he alth and that of your children.