Today, the term “growing pains” is used to describe everything from learning a new skill to climbing the corporate ladder. But its original meaning was much more literal.
As the human body grows and develops, everything is getting bigger and longer and stronger and, in the interim, often more painful.
The tween and pre-teen years can be especially awkward, when growing kids seem to be all arms and legs and clumsiness. Growing pains can be especially noticeable in the legs.
Often these pains strike in the evening when kids are finally at rest.
If your child complains of “mystery” pains in the legs or other areas, it is always a good idea to have your family doctor do a physical exam just to rule out other possible causes.
Once you get the all clear, go ahead and give these 10 all natural remedies a try to ease the pains!
Leg massage sends leg cramps packing.
According to Mayo Clinic, a simple at-home leg massage is one of the oldest and most trusted remedies to ease muscle aches and cramps associated with growing pains.
Start with a very gentle massage at first – no more than five minutes or so – and see how your child feels.
You can then adjust the firmness and length of these massage sessions to meet your child’s comfort needs (and a warm hug and a cuddle afterwards always helps too!).
Thorough hydration helps aching muscles heal.
Active children and pre-teens often forget to drink enough water. They are so busy with school, activities, friends and family it is easy to ignore feelings of thirst. When dehydration strikes, simple water intake may not be all the body needs.
So offer your child water with electrolytes, either in the form of a sports drink or some fresh coconut water or some other preferred drink (ask your family doctor what is best).
This helps your child’s body fully absorb the hydration and put it to use easing muscle aches and cramps.
Vitamin D is a potent nourishment for nerves.
The entire muscle, tendon and ligament system is all linked up to the central nervous system. As a study published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) explains, often growing pains stem from a noticeable lack of Vitamin D, which nourishes the bones and makes the job of the nerve cells much easier.
Why is it important to supplement low Vitamin D levels? Homo sapiens are not able to manufacture Vitamin D without help. In past decades, children often would soak up sufficient sun during the day to help their body make all the Vitamin D it needed.
But today, kids spend so much time indoors, it can be challenging to take in enough ultraviolet rays to help the body make sufficient levels of Vitamin D. Taking a supplement can fill in the gaps (ask your family doctor how much is the right dose for your child).
Epsom salt baths immediately soothe growing pains.
Epsom salts sprinkled in warm bathwater to help reduce night time growing pains.
Epsom salts are full of magnesium, a necessary trace mineral that functions like a natural muscle relaxer. Plus, warm bath water is soothing to the whole body and can be a great way to get ready for a good night’s sleep!
Schedule a chiropractic adjustment to lessen muscle cramps and pain symptoms.
Chiropractic care is increasingly finding a place of respect in mainstream medicine today. Chiropractic doctors work with the central nervous system through spinal manipulation to correct alignment, ease pinched nerves and naturally improve posture and movement.
As the National Institutes of Health (NIH) describes, chiropractic adjustments can produce successful alleviation of growing pains in child patients.
Turn up the heat to dial down the pain.
A heating pad is another time-honored way to find quick relief from growing pains. If you have a hot water bottle, this can work very well too.
You can combine this remedy with a gentle session of leg massage (see tip 1 here) for even better results.
Just turn the heating pad on the lowest setting and place it on the area where your child is reporting the pain.
You can increase the heat as needed, but be sure to set a timer if your heating paid doesn’t have an auto shut-off feature to avoid burns!
Try over-the-counter pain relief (NOT aspirin).
It is never safe to give a child aspirin, since this medicine is linked to the rare Reyes syndrome, which can cause damage to the brain and liver, according to Healthline.
But you can give your child a dose of Children’s Advil, Children’s Tylenol or whatever your family doctor recommends.
Be sure to give it with a full glass of water a sufficient amount of time before bed so your child doesn’t wake up needing to use the restroom.
Do a nightly stretching session together before bedtime.
Tight muscles tend to turn into cramping muscles. This issue can be especially prevalent if your child plays sports or practices athletic hobbies such as gymnastics.
Scheduling a family stretching session before bedtime that focuses on whole-leg stretches is a good way to prepare the body for a restful, cramp-free sleep.
If you enjoy yoga, introduce your child to some beginning yoga stretches or find out if you can attend a beginner yoga class together.
Meditate with your child to replace anxiety with calm.
Sometimes after the growing pains have reliably appeared a few nights in a row, your child may grow understandably anxious as bedtime approaches, fearing a return of the pains once more.
As Earth Mama’s World describes, teaching your child how to meditate and visualize peace and calm is a skill that will remain beneficial throughout life, whether it is preparing for exams, a job interview, a sports match or other stressful events in life.
Doing meditation together as a family is a great way to help your child learn how to take charge of their own inner state in life.
You can ask your doctor or chiropractor about ideas for positive visualizations or courses that may be helpful to ease growing pains specifically.
Mix up a tasty fermented cod liver oil smoothie.
Fermented cod liver oil probably doesn’t sound tasty in its own right. But today, there are lots of ways to mix beneficial oils together with ingredients such as fruits, yogurts and juices that are very tasty and can mask less desirable ingredients.
Fermented cod liver oil can boost the body’s immune system, fight off allergies and germs and help the whole body system adjust to the continual cycles of growth and development that are taking place.
Add some banana to your smoothie for extra potassium, which is another natural trace mineral that can ease muscle cramps and aches. Avocado, yogurt and spinach are also great sources of potassium.
We hope you have enjoyed learning more about what the natural world has to offer to help ease your child’s growing pains! It is so easy to forget that before there was prescription medicine, there were healers who knew exactly which natural remedies could ease suffering.
But rest assured you don’t have to jump in and try all 10 of these remedies at once! Rather, just focus on one that really jumped out at you. Perhaps that is the remedy your child needs right now to find relief!
If you have tried one of these natural growing pains remedies and experienced success, we’d love to hear your experiences! And if you have another favorite remedy that isn’t listed here, please drop a line and let us know about it!