Is it ever happened with your child, that he/she seems perfectly fine in the morning, and in late afternoon or by evening complains of leg pain? It must be a sign of growing pain in your child. Growing pains are cramping, muscles pains that can be occur in preschoolers or in preteens (what are some best fruits for teens?). It usually caused by overuse of muscles. This can be because of childhood activities, such as running around or playing games, or dancing in birthday party for too long. Adults may also experience this pain due to some muscle soreness following by workouts. In some kids these pains get accompanied by stomach pain and headaches. It might be related to stress and anxiety.
What is growing pain?
Growing pain is an ache or throb in the legs usually in the front of the thighs, the calves or behind the knees. It affects both the legs and occurs at night, and may disturb the child’s sleep. Data suggests that almost two out of five children get growing pains just around the time of their growth spurts. A specific cause for growing pains is unknown. Kids are growing rapidly and their muscles, tendons and ligaments are also growing. One theory suggests that the body parts might not be growing at the same rate as the body, thereby causing a protest and leading to pain or ache.
Other common reasons for leg pain in kids can be running, jumping and playing throughout the day, or psychological issues, or vitamin D deficiency, or restless leg syndrome or arthritis.
How can you help your child?
You can comfort your child from the pain by using simple procedures as massaging gently, applying heating pads, making him/her do some stretching exercises, giving warm bath before bed time and pain- relief medicines if it becomes necessary.
Diet rich in vitamin D, calcium, magnesium (some easy food sources), phosphorous and protein will in general take care of bone and muscle health. (What are some common vitamin D and calcium food sources?)
How to know if it is something more serious?
Keep a close watch on your kid and if you see any other symptoms mentioned below, then it might be a cause for concern.
- Pain continues for a longer period of time
- Ache in the joints
- Unusual rashes
- Less active than usual
Arthritis and Kids:
Arthritis is mostly associated with older people but kids also might be suffering from it. Kids arthritis is called juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA). Arthritis is commonly confused with growing pains in kids and that is why it is important to understand the difference between the two conditions.
Arthritis is a disease that causes swelling, stiffness and pain in a person’s joints thereby affecting the proper working of joints and causing pain in the joints like knees, hips, ankle, shoulders, elbows and knuckles etc.
Cause for juvenile idiopathic arthritis is not known but it is mostly associated with genes which are passed on from parents to their children having a family history of arthritis.
Nutrients and Food sources that will help:
Protein: Getting enough protein is important for holding on to muscle mass and function. Chickpea, lentils, peanut butter, pumpkin seeds, Quinoa, nuts and seeds have high amount of protein which helps in building the muscles of the body. (Is whey protein good for kids?)
Calcium: Calcium is the mineral everyone needs throughout his/her life to maintain bone health. Bone formation and repair are at its peak during early years. This is the time kids need calcium the most. Other antioxidants like vitamin A,C and K , which protect cells from free radical damage (what are they?) and are high in bone preserving calcium.
Fatty acids:-: Studies suggest that intake of omega 3 fatty acids results pain reduction and functional improvement in patients with growing pain. Fatty fish, flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts are some sources which can help to get required amount of omega-3 a body needs. It can soothe muscle soreness, stiff muscles, and can improve range of motion. (Is consuming fat good for the body?)
Garlic: Garlic is rich in both sulfur and selenium, which can help to relieve joint and muscle pain. It contains an anti inflammatory compound called diallyl disulfide, which helps to fight inflammation and even prevent cartilage damage caused from arthritis. (Easy immunity building foods for kids)
Ginger: Results showed that raw ginger reduces muscle pain by 25%. It has muscle relaxant properties that can help relieve cramps and have relaxing effect in muscle pain. Less than.1 teaspoon of ginger consumption a day can help with this ailment. (What is the ginger remedy for cold and cough?)
Olive Oil: Olive oil seems particularly beneficial when consumed since it relieves swelling. When combined with fish oil (source of omega 3 fatty acid), the result can be even better. In one study, this combination significantly improved joint pain, muscle pain, swelling and morning stiffness in people with arthritis issue. (How does this help with acne?)
Moringa: Moringa contains essential minerals such as calcium, magnesium and vitamin K which help to maintain healthy bones and heal bone problems. It also has natural anti-inflammatory properties which help to reduce swelling and pain in the muscles. (What are other benefits of Moringa and how to use it?)
Recipe for Veggies Rice
Remedy for body pain
- Mix of small cut capsicum, cauliflower, onion, chopped garlic
- Soy chunks or firm tofu
- Cumin seeds (optional)
- other veggies (optional)
- semi brown rice or any other
- Olive oil
Heat olive oil briefly, add cumin seeds and all the veggies to sauté. Once done for 5 min, add rice and Sauté for two more minutes. Add double water and cover the lid to cook. I cooked extra for my kids to enjoy soft broccoli and cauliflower. I saved this dish with mushroom and peas gravy for additional nutrition.
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