As many as 10 to 20 percent of children may complain of vague leg pains on a recurrent basis. The pain can be in one or both legs, most commonly in the thigh, knee or calf. This type of leg pain typically occurs at night and lasts 30 minutes to one hour, or more.
This condition occurs in children from three to four years old up until adolescence. The pains are intermittent and do not occur every night, but seem to be more likely to occur after a day of increased activity.
Usually, parents who take their child for an assessment are told that this is simply “growing pains”; that somehow the bones, ligaments and muscles are growing at a different rate and pain, in these circumstances, is normal, even expected!
From years of clinical experience in treating children, we can tell you that this is not normal. Since when did it hurt to grow? Don’t the arms grow too? Why are only the legs hurting when they grow and not the arms? So, if the “growing pains” explanation is not true, what, then, is the cause of leg pain in children?
Most of the kids we see with leg pains are very active; the sudden jars, bumps and lumps of vigorous play or sports often produces stress on the vertebrae of the lower back and pelvis, which can cause these to become subluxated. These subluxations in turn irritate the nerves going into the legs, causing the pain - often in the absence of back pain!
Chiropractic adjustments will often relieve the leg pains in only a few visits. Without adjustments, the pain will sometimes lessen or pass with time, but it is important to remember that pain is only a symptom, an alarm system telling you that something is wrong. Uncorrected subluxations of the low back and pelvis are likely to result in problems later in life, such as spinal degeneration (osteoarthritis), low back pain and sciatica, and can also interfere with the nerves going to the internal organs of the abdomen, resulting in constipation, diarrhea, bloating, irritable bowels, incontinence and menstrual dysfunction, to name a few.
Our recommendation is that any child who has been either diagnosed with “growing pains,” or who complains of intermittent leg pains, should have a thorough check-up with a chiropractor to ensure that spinal problems are not the underlying cause. Give us a call today.