Have you ever had your child complain of leg pains?
Do you remember having them as a child ?
These are commonly referred to as growing pains and can be defined as recurrent leg pain in children usually between 2 & 12 years of age.
What are growing pains?
Although there are no medical causes, theories of cause range from muscle fatigue to juvenile arthritis.
According to a 1984 study, limb pain was a presenting complaint in 7% of visits to paediatricians.
A South Australian study published in the August 2004 issue of the Journal of Paediatrics found that 36.9% of children age 4- 6 years experienced growing pains.
This was nearly 1/3 of the child population.
These leg pains are usually brushed off by medical doctors as normal occurrences who contribute them to daily physical activity.
Or, they explain them away as muscles, ligaments, tendons & bones all growing at different rates.
And parents are given few to no options for treatment.
Typically, massaging the legs and the use of analgesics are the only suggestions.
The later is a good way to expose kids to the drug culture & begin the habit of popping pills for aches and pains.
Not to mention the always present risk of the potentially dangerous side-effects.
Parents are told growing pains are part of the normal growth process and they will pass.
But does it make sense to you that it should hurt to grow?
We are growing all the time in one way or another right until the day we die, and it doesn’t hurt us as adults.
Why should kids be the only one subjected to this horrible scourge?
But all the explanations offer no comfort to parents who awaken at night to their child’s cries night after night.
Should we accept this weak diagnosis of growing pains that affect 25 – 40% of children?
Or, can there be another explanation leading to a more logical solution?
Well, the answer is an unequivocal yes!
Read on ….
Let’s get to the cause:
So what causes these ‘growing pains’?
From a chiropractic perspective, logically we must look at structural and biomechanical issues.
Let’s review the growth process time line.
The 1st 5 years of a child’s life is the time of greatest spinal growth.
This is when it is absolutely critical that spinal alignment is perfect.
Remember that as the twig is bent, so grows the tree.
The spine will grow about 27cm during this 5 year period.
Between 5 & 10 years, the spine will grow another 10 cm on average.
There is another increase at puberty between approximately 10 and 18 years of age with about 20 cm of spinal growth in males and 15 cm in females.
Logically, if something interferes with this growth process, there will likely be problems.
What if a baby was put into a baby walker before their body was ready to walk?
What if a jolly- jumper was used?
What if the pelvis was misaligned due to a bad fall or birth trauma & this was left uncorrected?
These kinds of things can alter the normal biomechanics leading to postural abnormalities, disruption of proper locomotion skills, injury to the child, subluxations (misalignments of spinal vertebrae), abnormal spinal curves and eventually degenerative spinal disease.
Other interferences of the growth process may include birth trauma as previously mentioned, falls, sports injuries and overly sedentary lifestyles.
Another important consideration is that many of these children also have complaints of spinal pain in addition to the leg pains.
The reason for this is that the nerves which control the legs ( called the sciatic nerve ) originate in the lower part of the spine ( between the lowest rib & the waist ), so when these nerves are irritated they can also cause lower back pains as well.
The unfortunate thing however is that drugs and medications are frequently recommended by family physicians for these types of health issues.
But ask yourself this question …. do you think a pill made up of chemicals can correct a structural/alignment problem in the spine?
We recognize that if there is stress in one area of the body, the rest of the body will somehow and some way compensate for this stress.
So how does chiropractic help?
Chiropractors work with the spine & the nerve system.
The nerve system controls every system, organ, tissue and cell in the body.
The spinal column houses the nerves, with the nerve roots exiting between each spinal bone (vertebrae).
Stress overload ( recall the 3 kinds of stress that wear down the human body – physical, mental/emotional, chemical ) affects nerve system function.
Causes of stress overload in the child originate from physical trauma’s such as the birth process, postural compensations (ie.sedentary lifestyles, backpack carrying compensations etc.) and common childhood injuries.
Nerve system stress can affect any system or organ of the body.
Chiropractors will perform a thorough exam of the child’s spine & locate areas of misalignment (subluxations) contributing to the nerve system stress.
The chiropractic adjustment restores nerve system function and the child’s whole body benefits.
Growing pains is a common disorder resulting from nerve system stress.
The child may feel leg pain which can range from an achy throbbing feeling to sharp and sometimes shooting pains.
Altered biomechanics & spinal misalignment , especially in the lower lumbar spine ( lower back ) and pelvis creates imbalance in the thigh muscles, hamstring muscles and calf muscles which may also contribute to the leg pains.
Pelvic misalignments can lead to leg-length inequalities.
The child is then unevenly distributing his or her weight placing additional stress and strain not only on the spine, but the knees, ankles and feet as well.
An article published in Dynamic Chiropractic in Sept.’92 revelaed a strong correlation between pelvic misalignment on the side of leg pain.
In another publication, Conference Proceedings of the Centennial Foundation (July ’95) there was a marked reduction in “growing pains” under chiropractic care with respect to frequency and duration.
After 25 years of family practice, I have seen several children with growing pains and it is hard for me to recall even one that did not respond favorably to chiropractic care.
Whether your kids are complaining of growing pains or not, you as a parent need to be concerned and aware of the sources of physical stress to your child’s spine.
Back packs, slouching & sitting too long are common causes of stress.
Remember that we are always here to help and we can show you what to look for as well as point out any potential problems that may be developing in your child’s spine.
Consultations are always free of charge and all you need to do is call 905 335 5433 and schedule an appointment with either Cheryl or Tina.
You can meet them elsewhere on this website and while you are there, be sure to listen to their personal stories.
Great things are to be said about the effect of chiropractic care on growing pains.
When stress is removed from the spine & nerve system, it allows the body to function at its best.
Nothing is more satisfying than when we have a parent tell us their child is now sleeping peacefully right through the night.
And no longer do they have to stop playing because the pain in their legs is so severe.
How wonderful it is to see a parent & child find the cause of their problems & not merely mask the symptoms.
What more could a parent want for their child?
Click Here To Book a Free Initial Consultation With Dr. Brad At The 2501 Guelph Line Clinic