ZocdocAnswersIs my son just experiencing growing pains?

Question

Is my son just experiencing growing pains?

My son's going through a growth spurt right now. Is that why he is complaining that his muscles hurt? He says that his joints and muscles ache. He is 11 years old and I want to make sure that nothing serious is wrong with him.

Answer

Growing pains are a very common complaint in children your son's age. Indeed, up to 25% of children this age probably experience some degree of growing pains. No one exactly knows what causes growth pains, although the may just be a child variant of what adults experience sometimes after a long day at work - stiffness and tension in muscles. Importantly, growing pains typically occur at night or in the late afternoon, and they should always be gone in the morning. Also they are never accompanied by actually tenderness of the muscles or joints when they are squeezed. They should also never cause redness or swelling of joints. If your child has typical growing pains, then home remedies like massage or heat may take care of them. Tylenol or another over the counter pain medication may also help. Please take your son to a pediatrician, who will do a close examination and start a work up for a more serious medical problem. If your child has actual joint swelling or muscle tenderness, these are not growing pains and they are more concerning for a medical problem like arthritis. Good luck!

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