An Osteopathic Approach to Growing Pains

Growing pains are a common complaint in the younger child and adolescent. In fact, up to one in three children can experience this type of pain during their lifetime and, according to a 2007 report in Pediatric Rheumatology Online Journal, the peak age for growing pains is 6 years old. Growing pains are often reported as pain in the legs, thighs, shins or calves and are worse at nighttime, with limited pain during the daytime. Sometimes the pain can be severe and interrupt sleep. Growing pains don’t generally affect the joints, and don’t cause swelling, warmth, redness, or limping—so if your child experiences those symptoms it is important to seek medical attention right away. Growing pains are typically felt in the muscles and bones, and are often not very responsive to the typical treatments of massage, heat and over-the-counter pain relievers.

Osteopathic manipulation can be very effective in the treatment of growing pains, sometimes in just one or two sessions. Osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) works by creating stretch and relaxation through the soft tissues surrounding the bones and freeing up motion through the joints. Treatment can efficiently remove connective tissue and muscle restrictions in the area of the complaint, as well as other parts of the body which might be associated, like the pelvis or low back. Combined with other treatment modalities as needed, it can be a parent’s best option for a condition that is often insufficiently addressed by conventional medical approaches. With OMT available, there is no need to suffer through sleepless nights and “wait until they grow out it”!