Growing Up With Growing Pains (page 2)
“Mommy, my legs hurt!”
This isn’t the first time your child has woken up complaining of leg pain. As you massage the aching legs and reassure your child that everything will be all right, you can’t help but wonder: is this pain normal or should you be concerned?
“For a child who’s perfectly fine during the day and healthy otherwise, you shouldn’t worry if it happens once or twice a month,” says Perry Schoenecker, MD, acting chief of orthopedic surgery at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. “However, if this becomes a persistent problem that’s disrupting sleep more than once a week, evaluation may be appropriate.”
Although there’s no lab test or X-ray to identify growing pains, such tests can be used to rule out the presence of other, more potentially serious diseases such as inflammation, muscle problems and tumors in the bone.
If these tests come back negative, your child will probably be diagnosed with benign bone/muscle pain, sometimes referred to as “growing pains”. And while doctors may disagree on the correct definition, they do agree that growing pains are nothing serious and that your child will most likely outgrow them by age 8.
In the meantime, the pain he or she is feeling is very real. If growing pains are what's keeping your child up at night, acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen taken before bedtime may keep the pain at bay.
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