Summer is in full swing and with all the outdoor activities and play, our kids seem to always be on the go. All the running around and outdoor time can have an effect on their growing bodies. If your child is one that experiences "growing pains" the summer months may seem to make those restless nights worse. Sure all the fresh air and playing outside is great for kids, and it usually tends to tucker them out, but for some if can cause those restless nights with constant leg pains. While "growing pains" may seem a natural part of life there are things that can make them more bearable for both kids and parents...after all we all need our sleep!
What are "Growing Pains"?
Although there are no known medical causes, theories range from muscle fatigue to juvenile arthritis. If your child's growing pains seem to be worse with increased activity...hello summer, then muscle fatigue seems to be more likely. As their bodies are growing and they continue to become more active, the muscles may not be keeping up causing fatigue, leading to those painful growing pains. So as a rule of thumb the only things that have been offered for help are massaging the legs and topical analgesics, which may not offer any comfort to parents who awaken to their child's cries at night. Should we accept this diagnosis of "growing pains" that affect 25-40% of children? The answer is "NO!" Are there other options available to alleviate these leg pains? YES! Try Chiropractic!
From a chiropractic standpoint, we first must take a look at any biomechanical issues that the child may have. We've been told that children grow up too fast, but let's take a look at how fast they are actually growing. The first 5 years of a child's life is when they grow the fastest, during the first year of life a child's spine will grow 12cm in length and another 15cm between the ages of 1-5.
By the time they are between the ages of 5-10 the spine grows another 10cm. When a child reaches puberty female's will add another 15cm to their spines and males will add another 20cm. That's a lot of growing and as spine grows there can be a lot of interference that can send pain signals to all part of the body...including those legs, causing "growing pains." So if your child is going through a growth spurt and is also increasing their activity, schools out and sending your kids outside is way better than sitting them in front of the TV, the chance that they might be falling or running their bodies in the ground is a good indications that spinal trauma could be occurring and increasing those growing pains.
How Does Chiropractic Work?
Chiropractic is going to take a look at the biomechanical differences in the spine which can help stimulate the nervous system. Typical areas of spinal misalignments are found in the lower lumbar spine, pelvis and lower limbs, which creates imbalances in the quadriceps, hamstrings, and calf muscles, which may contribute to leg pains. Pelvic misalignments can also lead to leg-length inequalities; the child is unevenly distributing his or her weight, placing additional stress and strain not only on the spine but feet, ankles, and knees as well. By fixing these imbalances the nerves and muscles can function properly and may decrease the pain associated with the misalignments. So if your child has been suffering from "growing pains" give chiropractic a try, you've only got a full night's rest to gain!