My 3 year old complains of his legs hurting him, and crawls around our house. Growing Pains?

Sarah - posted on 03/28/2011 ( 6 moms have responded )

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My 3 year old complains of his legs hurting him and crawls around our house, sometimes crying. Whenever we are in public he wants me to carry him (sometimes). Yet, when he's at church he's fine and he's running around. Could this be a growing pains? I try not to carry him everywhere because he is 3, but I really don't want to cause a scene and I have things I need to do and places I have to go without carrying him, but also without worrying about his pain level.

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Brandis - posted on 03/29/2011

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Growing pains are pain symptoms relatively common in children. Typically, they are located in the muscles, rather than the joints, of the leg and less commonly the arm. They are usually felt on both sides, and appear late in the day or at night, waking the child, with pain varying from mild to very severe. Pain is absent by the morning, and there are no objective clinical signs of inflammation. Pain can recur nightly or be absent for days to months. Growing pain is not associated with other serious disease and usually resolves by late childhood, but frequent episodes are capable of having a substantial effect on the life of the child.
In the absence of limping, loss of mobility, or physical signs, laboratory investigation to exclude other diagnoses is not warranted. Restless leg syndrome is sometimes misdiagnosed as growing pains.
Reported prevalences of growing pains have been between 2% and 46% of children. Growing pains are said to typically occur in two periods during a child's life, firstly, between about 3 and 5 years old, then later in 8 to 12 year olds. There are however no published epidemiological studies to support this observation. Individuals can vary markedly in when they experience growing pains.
The causes of growing pains are unknown. They are not associated with growth spurts and some authors suggest that the term 'recurrent limb pain in childhood' be used instead.[2] Theories of causation include faulty posture, vascular perfusion disorder, tiredness, or psychological causes.[2] Some studies say that growing pains are a result of "emotional disturbances" and others suggest that parents who suffered some sort of painful experiences in their childhood lead to their children's pains. Some parents are able to associate episodes of pain with physical exercise or mood changes in the child.[1]
Parents and children can be substantially reassured by explaining the benign and self limiting nature of the pains. There are no substantial studies of the effectiveness of any intervention; however local massage, hot baths and analgesic drugs such as paracetamol (acetaminophen) are often used. Most times in the morning the pain is gone leaving no signs of rash or other noticeable side effects.

Brandis - posted on 03/29/2011

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im a massage therapist and if he really in having growing pains you might want to research sending him to a massage therapist or googling tips on how to massage him yourself...it really does help...i usually give my son a bath before bed and rub lotion on him and massage his muscles before bed and if bothers him in the morning that could be a morning ritual for you to start with him....maybe stretching those muscles out too

Annette - posted on 03/28/2011

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I would think it's growing pains, my 7 yr old takes warm baths to help especially after running around, helps him sleep... Do you have any younger children in the house he may be trying to get your attention.... My 7 yr old is an attention hog when it comes to me needing to change his baby brother or tend to his needs

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Sal - posted on 03/29/2011

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could be growing pains but get it checked out, my son complained for years, dr after dr said he's grow out of it, now it is apparent there is an issue with his hips and he is having real trouble running, he is in physio and seeing a podietrist, and it doesn;t seem to be working, not sure what is next for him, so make sure you aren't brushed over

Heather - posted on 03/29/2011

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It's likely growing pains, I had them when I was a child and they were awful. To be safe tho, you may want to have the doctor check him out.

Sarah - posted on 03/28/2011

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nope. He's an only child. He knows he's not a baby, so I might try the warm bath- that might help. I think his worse pain is in the mornings when he wakes up- he's started to crawl into our room, where he used to run or walk.

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