How To Soothe Growing Pains


Is your child sprouting up like a weed?! You know the drill: new clothing sizes every few months, an insatiable appetite…and perhaps some nasty growing pains that come at night in their arms and legs.

While it can be fun and rewarding to watch your kid grow before your very eyes, the growing pains that can come with this time can be pretty uncomfortable to bear witness to. It’s never enjoyable to watch your little one in discomfort, especially when it wakes them up during the night. 

Many parents end up feeling a bit helpless through periods of growing pains, and may even be under the impression that they just need to “wait for this phase-out.” We’re here to tell you that this isn’t necessarily true. While it’s difficult to completely eliminate growing pains altogether, there are some treatment options to make this period go much more smoothly for you and your child.

What Are Growing Pains, And When Do They Occur?

Growing pains refer to pain patterns kids experience in their limbs. The good news? While certainly uncomfortable, this pain isn’t dangerous, so you don’t have to worry about any health implications down the road as a result of them. This pain generally crops up in the late evening or during the night, sometimes waking a child up and can last from 30 minutes to several hours. These waves of growing pain can be fairly consistent in some children, while intermittent in others. The frequency of these episodes varies from child-to-child, but between 10-35% of all children experience growing pains at least once. And, come morning time – the pain has disappeared. 

One of the challenges with growing pains, is that it can be difficult to nail down exactly what is causing the pain. However, muscle pain at night is typically linked to overuse during the day. So, if your child is particularly active on the playground or in organized sports, they may be a bit more susceptible to these typical growing pains. 

An important note: growing pains typically affect children from ages 2-12. However, it’s rare for a child between ages 8-12 who have not previously experienced growing pains to suddenly begin having episodes. If they do, it is likely that something other than simple growing pains is going on, and you should consult with a medical professional immediately. Similarly, if your child’s growing pains do not go away in the morning, or are accompanied by swelling or fever, you should seek medical advice.

How To Treat Growing Pains At Home

You don’t have to just watch your child experience these growing pains and wait it out – there are some great conservative care options to help make this period of time more comfortable. Specifically, incorporating gentle stretching, massage and encouraging healthy eating can help with the overall comfort of your child, although they may not eliminate growing pains completely.

Gentle Massage

If your child is actively experiencing an uncomfortable episode of growing pains in their arms or legs, gentle massage can help make these symptoms a bit more bearable until it passes. Being able to provide relief to your child in the moment of distress can feel like you’re working wonders. 

Regular Stretching

Light stretching of the quads, hamstrings, and calves can help cut down on growing pain episodes. Try to have your child incorporate some basic stretching during their morning and again before bed to proactively care for their bodies during this intense time. 

Anti-inflammatory Diet

Sometimes certain foods or dietary choices can also contribute to growing pains. For example, high-inflammatory foods including refined carbohydrates like white bread and pastries, fried foods, sugary drinks, and red meats can all potentially act as triggers for an episode. However, by incorporating anti-inflammatory foods into your child’s diet, you can help their body regulate between growth spurts. Great anti-inflammatory foods include options like almonds, tomatoes, olive oil, leafy green vegetables, and fatty fishes.

How Chiropractic Can Help With Growing Pains

What many people don’t know is that sometimes these growing pains are actually caused by issues within the nervous system, and many of these nerves are housed in the spinal column. A chiropractor can do a full evaluation of the spine and nervous system, and apply adjustments when necessary to help facilitate relief. 

These gentle adjustments of the neck, spine, and extremities help to realign the body and provide relief to the entire system. These adjustments also serve to decrease inflammation, relieve pressure, reduce nerve irritability, combat pain signals, and ultimately allow the entire body and immune system to communicate and function better. 

Help your child find more relief during a period of growing pains. Schedule an appointment online or call (256) 333-9429.

This article is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for in-person advice or care from a medical professional.