For years I’ve heard parents and grandparents tell me that kids they love wake up at night screaming in pain. More often than not, I’m told they child will receive some Tylenol and restlessly sleep the remainder of the night. When I ask what do they think the causes of these pains are, it’s most commonly chalked up to “growing pains”.
Growing pains??? Does your hair hurt when it grows? What about your nails? What about your brain? Should our bodies really hurt to the point of waking from a dead sleep from pain???
The answer is no. The short and sweet of it is that pain is a warning sign in our body. It is kind of like a check engine light in a car, if you will. It’s very important that we pay attention to pain and find the source of it, rather than mask the pain that is merely a symptom of dysfunction!
Children’s bones and muscles grow very quickly, but that’s still not a cause of pain. I find that many kids/adolescents that complain of growing pains have an imbalance or subluxation in their pelvis and lower back. This misalignment of bones causes unequal pressure to be distributed on the femurs, knees, shins, ankles, and feet. Something off by even a millimeter in a child can have a dramatic effect on the entire kinetic chain of joints in the lower extremity.
Why would a child have a misalignment in their spine?
Children play hard! Running on uneven pavement, tripping/falling, participating in sports, sitting in class in a slouched position and/or dance/gymnastics are only some of the reasons that children can have misalignment. Children’s bones, ligaments, and muscles are far more flexible than adults and for good reason- with the amount of falls/trauma or even micro-traumas, like awkwardly sitting, that children experience would probably cause a bone break in most adults. However children’s bones don’t break, they merely adapt by either deforming or misaligning.
So what can be done for children who suffer from “Growing Pains”?
Pediatric chiropractors, like myself, are trained to analyze a child’s posture, gait, and spinal movements to determine the misalignment. Sometimes an x-ray of the pelvis and low back are necessary but not always. These special tools of analysis all help the chiropractor to make safe, gentle, and most importantly, effective positive changes to the child’s spine and pelvis to restore normal spinal alignment, normal muscle movements, and reduce the unequal pressure distribution so the child no longer wakes up in pain and can function at their highest level.
If there is a child whom you love, express that love by having their spine checked so that they may be misalignment and pain free.