Growing Pains

filed under: Miscellaneous on September 5, 2011

I was awoken by a stuffled cry.

In my sleepy haze I strained to hear… and eventaully heard it again.

Tears.  Agonizing tears.

I got up and went to my son.  He was sobbing quietly in his pillow, clutching his leg.

“My leg mom, it hurts.”

Wrapping my arms around him and holding on as tightly as I could, I felt my own tears forming, because I didn’t know what else I could do.


I remember growing pains when I was young.  I remember how painful they were and how confused I was.

My parents would tell me, “Your growing!”  And I would just shake my head.  What does that mean?

Colton has cried in my arms a couple times now.  And I am at a loss.

Can you help?

What do you do?  Would you give your child something for the pain?  How do you explain what a growing pain is?


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  • Stacey J says:

    I have never commented before, so hello. 🙂 Not to frighten you but if the pain is too severe, then take him to the doctors right away. My 7 year old had severe pain in her leg that we just assumed was growing pains and it ended up being a staph infection in her femur located right next to her growth plate. She was in the hospital for 4 days, and currently has a picc line for 6 weeks of iv antibiotics. ANYBODY can get what my daughter has, the staph that everyone carries somehow got in her blood stream and carried it to her femur. Its like a lightning strike, but anytime I hear the words severe growing pains, my heart sinks and I tell them my daughters story. I am praying it is just growing pains for your boy!

  • S says:

    Hi, When my daughter complains of her legs aching we let her use the heating pad. It feels comforting to her and doesn’t seem to make it worse.

  • Danielle says:

    Ooooh I remember having those horrible pains when I was little. My mom always ran cold water over a wash cloth then wrapped the cloth around my legs. She would put another towel over the washcloth so my bed wouldn’t get wet, and it seemed to do the trick for me.

  • Carolyn says:

    Most of our kids went through this for a few years. We found out that giving them liquid calcium magnesium every day seemed to help them not to get the aches. Once they had sore legs, any kind of heat (rice bag heated in microwave, heating pad, hot water bottle etc.) or even just rubbing their legs seemed to help. The biggest difference for us though, was to prevent them with the calcium/magnesium supplement.

  • Karen says:

    Honestly? I don’t remember my kids experiencing growing pains at all.
    But there have been other pains. The suggestions of heating pads and ice packs are good. I always found a back scratch and a head massage to be helpful, too.

  • Karen@SurvivingMotherhood says:

    Honestly? I don’t remember my kids experiencing growing pains at all.
    But there have been other pains. The suggestions of heating pads and ice packs are good. I always found a back scratch and a head massage to be helpful, too.

  • Kellyn says:

    We do heating pads with Boo. She gets bad pains that timing wise go with growth spurts. They always seem to fall when her appetite is on the rize, and her sleep is longer.

  • girlsmama says:

    We do the massage and a hot corn bag the first time they wake up. If they wake up a second time I give them a dose of ibuprofen. There is no sense in not preventing the pain when it is simple to do. We both have a better day the next day!

  • Arlene says:

    I agree with the calcium/magnesium. That type of pain, if doctors don’t have any reason but “growing” can be relieved by taking enough calcium. It is a natural pain reliever, and helps the bones be strong and grow.

  • Kelli says:

    Calcium/magnesium for sure! Helped both of my boys with this issue.

  • Diane {Created by Diane} says:

    my daughter has gotten them for years, I give her motrin and it seems to help. She’s so tall and is still getting them at 13. Started at age 6 I believe.

  • ChicGeekess says:

    Terrible growing pains are common in my family, and I am no stranger to them. I once grew 6 inches in one year and experienced severe growing pains. My dad did for me what his father had done for him: he would mix together equal parts water, rubbing alcohol and baby oil. Before bed, he would apply it gently and lovingly with a washcloth and explain how it would help the pain go away. The alcohol is cooling when it evaporates and the baby oil helps it go on smoothly and replenishes moisture the alcohol takes away. My dad always said that the application is more important than the mixture. I know it always brought me comfort. Hope it helps!

  • Lorie says:

    Poor boy! Honestly I think his mamas love is the best medicine, but I wouldn’t hesitate to give him Tylenol or something similar if he is in a lot of pain.
    As for explaining it, other than trying to put a positive spin on getting taller I don’t know that there is much you can do.
    Try making sure he is getting enough potassium too, that can help with the cramping he might be feeling.

  • Sally says:

    All those muscles and bones are stretching to make him a tall, healthy young man. I remember our son went through it as well. I agree with comments above — a lot of mama love, perhaps rubbing the leg(s) with a favorite lotion, and by all means tylenol! It’s so hard to watch your kiddo go through this – esp. when it disturbs their sleep, but it’s a normal part of many kids’ childhood. Before long, you will be remembering back…

  • Trooppetrie says:

    I would say a heating pad first and see if that helps. if it continues I would take him to the Dr just to check. hoping he feels better soon, it is hard to watch them be in pain

  • Joy says:

    My oldest daughter, who will be 14 next month, is still growing and she cries when she has her growing pains. It is indeed heartbreaking. Praying for your little one to quickly pass this growing spurt!

  • Deb Taylor says:

    I am a massage student and I have so many children that I massage for these pains including my own. Gentle massage seems to help, both the legs and the feet. (Feet is another problem area). I use long sweeping strokes (relaxation techniques) in the afternoon or just before bed this helps relieve the pain. I try to get the mums to do it too as everyone knows mummy is the best one to fix things. I use oil as well, (there are ones out there that are suitable for children even with allergies) it is water soluable and wipes away quite easily when finished. Good luck it is awful when our kiddies cry out in pain.

  • Christina says:

    The same thing happens to Abby! The only thing that helps her is me massaging it. And sometimes I will give her an ice pack.
    My chiropractor told me to get her more calcium too.
    I hope your little guy gets better!

  • sue says:

    Please get your child checked by a doctor before dissmissing these pains as growing pains, the pain could be from any amount of illnesses, I won’t give you any examples, I don’t want to freak you out!

  • Christine says:

    We give Nathan Children’s Tylenol and it seems to do the trick. His dad will massage his legs until the Tylenol kicks in and we sit with him and talk to him. He’s a tall kid and gets them often. We explained to him that his bones are stretching so he can become taller and that it’s hard work for his body. He seemed to understand that.

  • Callye Alvarado says:

    Funny I am reading this on a pukey night. I used to have the same pains. We called them leg aches. My mom would let me lay with her, lay on her side, and let me put my hurting leg between hers. I don’t know whether it was me being still or the warmth, but it really helped, and now that I am getting my turn to be up at night with a crying kid, I am hoping he has the same good memories. Vicks also seemed to work. When I tell people that I feel like Im talking about the dad on my big fat greek wedding, but mom thought vicks cured everything, and really, it seemed to!

  • Staci says:

    For our three boys my husband always took some rubbing alcohol and well, rubbed it on while massaging their legs. It helped every time. It is tough, giving the simple explanation of ‘you’re growing’, but it doesn’t last forever. Good luck!

  • Tatyana says:

    i have heard that growing pains are not really from growing but are a sign of a magnesium deficiency.

  • Kelly says:

    This might sound odd but I took my son to the chiropractor because of his severe growing pains. I took him in 6 months ago and we have not had a single waking up in the middle of the night event! what the chiropractor did was safe and extremely effective.
    Also if you have one of those rice things that you heat up and it smells good too, do that. It’s a little safer than a heating pad that you have to plug in.
    Praying for you and your little guy!

  • Jenney says:

    A warm compress seems to help. Also, massage. I don’t give ibuprofen for growing pains until no one in the house is sleeping…and it is 3am. Yeah…I do give in sometimes. But normally a warm compress and massage will do the trick.

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