The truth about growing pains.
Childhood and adolescence is a challenging time for the human body. Hormone changes coupled with increased physical demands place children under more physical stress and pain than ever before.
Often parents are unsure of the best way to manage pain with their children. Typically the GP offers medication, which may help alleviate the symptoms but does not identify the cause. They are often then told to do x-rays and diagnostic tests only to find no explanation for their child’s pain.
Further investigations can be expensive and unnecessary. Here are some misconceptions and myths about children suffering from generalised pain.
MYTHS – ABOUT CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENCE AND PAIN
IT’S JUST GROWING PAINS:
Growing pains are not an explanation for your child’s pain. Although I’m not very tall, I did not experience any pain whilst growing. In fact the only time growth corresponds to pain is with an inflammatory response that is seen with teething and some more serious problems.
MY CHILD WILL GROW OUT OF IT:
Outgrowing pain is not exactly how it works. Pain often comes and goes as a response to the physical changes at the cellular level. As tissue is strained / stressed it may increase the pain response. Waiting for it to pass is not wrong, It’s just parents often wait too long to investigate. As a general rule vague aching pain should be investigated within a week. Swollen, hot and very painful areas should be examined immediately. Constant pain 24 hrs a day (even whilst sleeping) requires urgent attention and pain that wakes you child up at night should be investigated promptly.
I HAD THAT PROBLEM AND I TURNED OUT OK:
Often when I meet parents whilst treating their children they will identify with the problems their child is facing. They believe that because they suffered pain there before and turned out ok, so will their child. This may be the case. Or it may not. In fact there are so many different causes of pain that assuming it is the same complaint that you had years ago is unfair.
THE EXTENT OF THE COMPLAINT MATCHES THE SEVERITY:
Pain levels are not the sole indication for the severity of your child’s problem. Sometimes children can complain infrequently and the problem can be very serious. Do not underestimate your child’s complaints. Ask questions and determine any patterns, frequency and possible causes. Obviously most cases of pain are not serious however early intervention can help them in the long run.
MY CHILD PLAYS LOTS OF SPORT SO PAIN IS PART OF IT:
Overactivity is one of the most common causes of musculoskeletal complaints I see with children. Often parents expect that this is normal and they wait until the season ends or school holidays to investigate. Just because your child plays lots of sport they should not be experiencing pain. There is something that requires medical attention if they are limping off at half time or at the end of the game. Pain is not part of sport.
SO WHAT CAN BE DONE ABOUT IT?
Identifying the cause of the complaint is the primary concern of your therapist at St George Osteopathy. Our team is trained in the diagnosis of musculoskeletal pain conditions. The most important thing following understanding the cause of the complaint, is identifying as many factors which contribute to the complaint as possible.
Basically this means we consider everything from posture, body type, weakness, flexibility, movement, strength, diet, attitude, activity and the list goes on.
It is this approach that ensures that the child’s problem is understood and the most effective and safe form of treatment is applied. Osteopathy is a safe and effective way to manage children and their complaints.
We use a variety of hands on techniques that aim to improve tissue healing and blood flow, movement and reduce pain levels. We also pride ourselves on giving practical advice and communicating effectively with children of all ages.
If necessary we work with your GP and specialist to coordinate the management of your child. If you have a child that is suffering from pain, you are unsure what to do and you’re not happy with the advice you’ve had so far call us to find out more.
Or you may book online to see one of our Osteopaths HERE