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Growing pains – myth or fact?

While there is no scientific proof that growing pains are indeed caused by rapid growth of bones, muscles or ligaments, most parents will agree that they are a real thing, as Dr. Marnie Baker, a pediatrician from Saddleback Memorial Medical Center in Laguna Hills, California, notes.

The main symptom of growing pains is discomfort in the lower legs that most often appears at night. The pain can be severe, deep and aching, according to Dr. Baker. It usually occurs in both legs, preventing your child from falling asleep or waking him up throughout the night. Those who are most at risk are toddler-aged kids and kids aged 8 to 12, according to MNN.

Growing pains can be distinguished from other possibly more serious conditions. They occur in a generalized are, like both knees or the lower legs. There should be no accompanying signs like swelling, redness or warmth in the location of pain, as Baker esplains. However, if the symptoms prevent a kid from playing and doing other activities they should be checked by a pediatrician.

Parents can help their children overcome these pains by reassuring them with a cuddle and a hug. A gentle massage, a few minutes with a heating pad or a dose of ibuprofen can also help. “Teaching your child that growing pains are common and if they are awakened by them, to give their legs a rub and go back to sleep is the simplest way to ensure a good night’s sleep for all,” says Baker.

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