Has your child even wakened up in the middle of the night, complaining of leg pains? “Ouch! My legs hurt!” Perhaps you remember these childhood pains, which are often referred to as ‘growing pains.’
Growing pains were first documented in medical literature in the year 1823. Initially, there were many explanations for these pains, many of which have been dismissed, such as one that suggested that growing pains were a condition of rheumatic fever.
Today, there remains no pinpointed medical cause that causes these symptoms. Some theories point blame toward juvenile arthritis or simple muscle fatigue from growth.
One 1984 study found that limb pain was a common complaint, presenting itself in 7% of all pediatric visits.
Another study, published in the August 2004 Journal of Pediatrics issue, shared that almost 40% of children between the ages of 4 and 6 experienced growing pains. This South Australian study found that nearly one third of the children in the country had this condition.
Growing pains are often felt in the legs by children. They are often brushed off by medical doctors as being normal childhood occurrences. Many doctors say that daily physical activity is to blame. Parents often find themselves leaving medical offices with little to no options to treat their children’s condition. Occasionally parents are directed to massage the achy area and to use analgesics. Parents are often told this is a normal part of childhood and that the pain will eventually pass. For parents who watch their children writhe in pain, this isn’t always a sufficient solution to their problem.
The Biomechanical Problem
There may be more of an explanation than many of us are led to believe. During the first five years of a person’s life, the greatest spinal growth takes place. The spine increases 12cm in length during the first year with another 15cm between ages one and five. After age five, the growth rate of a child drops to 10cm until the age of ten. Another increase takes place between 10 and 18, with about 15 to 20 cm of spinal growth. If anything gets in the way of these growth processes, problems may take place. What if a child is allowed to sit in a walker before his spine is ready to support his whole body to walk? Or what if a fall takes place or a child lives an overly sedentary lifestyle?
Another thing to keep in mind is that many children with growth pains experience spinal pain as well. Unfortunately, most medical research focuses on leg growth alone. But a chiropractor looks at the body as a whole rather than as separate parts. Chiropractors realize that when one area is under stress, the rest of the body works to compensate for the stress and needs to be treated as a whole.
How Chiropractic can Help
The body’s nervous system works to control each system within the body as well as every organ and cell. The spinal column holds the nerves and nerve roots that reside between each vertebra. Nerve function can be impacted by stress, from physical to emotional – and even chemical (often caused by medication).
Spinal misalignment and altered biomechanics can cause imbalances in the leg muscles, including the calf muscles, quadriceps and hamstrings, which can lead to leg pain symptoms. Pelvic misalignment is another issue, which can lead to inequalities in leg length, which can cause additional strain and stress on not only the spine but the knees, ankles and feet also. There is a strong connection between pelvic misalignment and leg pain, as stated in a 1992 article in Dynamic Chiropractic.
Chiropractors in Tucker, GA perform gentle adjustments with either his or her hands or a small tool, which helps to remove subluxations or misalignments, thus bringing forth relief from growing pain symptoms in children.