Do you have a child who has pain in his or her legs?
Or maybe you suffered, like I did, in your own childhood. My pain was mainly in my knees. It hurt to walk for any longish length of time and even sitting cross-legged on the floor was uncomfortable for me. Luckily it didn't bother me every day but I must have complained about it enough for my parents to take me to the doctor (the squeaky wheel does get greased!). After looking at my knees and checking my reflexes the doctor told us that “They're just growing pains. She'll grow out of them.” That's it. No advice on what to do until I grew out of them or why it happens at all. She acted like they were a normal part of growing up. I tell you, it didn't feel very normal to me.
The Growing Pains Struggle Is Real
This scenario plays out all the time in doctor's offices. Parents and children come in for help and end up being waved off. Unfortunately, many parents believe that there's nothing that can be done except wait and are convinced not to take their child's pain seriously.
Think about this though: Children grow everywhere, and if they were truly growing pains, wouldn't it hurt everywhere — like their arms, hands, nose, neck — so why does it only hurt in the legs? And if it was so normal, shouldn't every child have these growing pains, not just some?
What Are Growing Pains?
The truth is childhood growing pains are actually a kid's version of adult sciatica. It's an indication that there may be a problem with the nerves and discs in the lower back. And yes, children can have issues with their nerves and discs! In fact, most adults I see with low back pain had severe growing pains as a kid. This happened to me too! When I was a teenager, I started having really bad low back pain and sciatica. It was debilitating and went on for years until I finally saw a chiropractor while in university.
Growing Pains In Legs
Do you have a child who complains of pain in their legs?
Sometimes it's hard for children to articulate what they are feeling. The pain might be in their legs or it might have started in their feet or even traveled to their hips by the time they talk to you about it.
If your pediatrician brushes off the pain as ‘just growing pains', it's time to seek other help. Using gentle chiropractic care and proper stretches can help decrease the discomfort and prevent worse pain in the future.