Growing pains: chronic pain in children and youth


Growing pains: chronic pain in children and youth

Much of the pain experienced by children and teenagers are chalked up to growing pains. While this may be part of the picture, the label ‘growing pains’ can mask underlying conditions and issues that may require medical intervention. For example, sports injuries are the most common cause of muscle, bone and joint pain in childhood. Minor injuries are generally identifiable and resolved within minutes, hours or days, however severe or persistent pain requires medical attention. While acute sports injuries are common, what about the child who is repeatedly injured or in pain each time they participate? While growing pains and the nature of acute injury could be to blame, there is also a possibility that the child is suffering from overuse syndromes, childhood arthritis, or a variety of other medical conditions’ 1

Another common cause of pain in children, especially in young females is pelvic instability. This can be caused due to asymmetrical growth of the hips during puberty, leading to an excessive range of motion, without the necessary muscular control. This is most common in young females involved in sports requiring a high degree of mobility such as dance or gymnastics and can be a source of ongoing pubic pain.

As a parent it can be hard to determine what ‘growing pains’ are normal and what pain requires medical attentions. These symptoms may indicate that it’s something more serious:

  • Your child’s pain persists throughout the day.
  • The pain is there in the morning.
  • They still hurt long after getting an injury.
  • They have joint aches.
  • They have a fever.
  • They have an uneven gait or favour one leg.
  • They are tired or weak.
  • They less active than usual.

At Metro Pain Group, we offer an integrated approach to treating paediatric pain and understand the difficulties and challenges of looking after a child with chronic pain and how this can impact on the child and the family. Dr Simon Cohen is our Paediatric Pain Specialist and has worked for over 14 years treating newborns and young adults.

Dr Bruce Mitchell is an Interventional Pain Physician with a special interest in Pelvic Pain.

To find out more please fill out the form below:

Paediatric or Pelvic Pain Inquiry

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[1] Lehman, T. (2004). It’s Not Just Growing Pains. New York: Oxford University Press.

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