Our 4 year old is having terrible growing pains. Here are some ways we’ve been treating it we found over at KidsLoveAcupuncture.com (update: our son was experiencing pain during the day as well, and it looks like we’re dealing with Juvenile Arthritis-if your child is “growing” anytime he’s active these are NOT growing pains.)
Growing pains refer to deep muscle aches or, according to Web MD, “stretching [of ] the bone’s thick covering” (1). This may be due to rapid bone growth or intense physical activity. The pain usually occurs in the late afternoon or evening. Most children experience growing pains between the ages of 3 and 7 years, although pre-teens may also experience growing pains, too. Growing shouldn’t be a pain and from a holistic perspective diet and nutrition can heal the root of the problem. I’ve also included some techniques you can use to treat the achy pains.
Here are a few natural remedies to help with growing pains by infusing the body with minerals to assist the body’s ability to grow and repair.
- Calcarea Phosphoricum is a homeopathic remedy for growing pains.
- Cal-Mag Supplementation will provide extra nutrients for growing bones and muscles. Here is one I recommend that is palatable for most kids.
- Epsom Salt Baths – not only will they be relaxing, but the skin rapidly absorbs and utilizes magnesium transdermally (through the skin) which can help relieve muscle aches. Put 2 cups of Epsom Salts in the bathtub and soak for 20 minutes.
- Magnesium Lotion Spray – another, sometimes more convenient way, to get transdermal magnesium (Click Here for a brand I trust). Just spray on the legs and message in. It takes about 20 minutes for the body to absorb the magnesium. NOTE: Some kids find magnesium lotion spray itchy. If that is the case, use Epsom salt baths instead.
Bone broth is another traditional way to increase minerals & nutrition in your child’s diet because it contains minerals, gelatin, collagen and amino acids — the building blocks of a healthy body. I like Sally Fallon’s recipe for bone broth from her book Nourishing Traditions. If you’re not ready to make your own bone broth, Click Here, for a source of homemade broth I recommend. If you need ways to get bone broth in your picky kid’s diet, check out this article by Yummy Inspirations: 10 Ways to Get Your Kids to Eat Bone Broth.
Cod Liver Oil
According to Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby & Child Care a diet rich in “meat, fat and organ meats” is recommended. The authors also believe taking “cod liver oil which supports proper and balanced growth… a must for this condition”.
Eliminate Pasteurized Dairy
Pasteurized dairy can actually prevent the absorption of the very minerals, such as calcium, that it’s supposed to be providing us with. While this isn’t an article on raw dairy vs. pasteurized dairy, growing pains are a good example of backwards nutritional principles that create the very problem they are supposed to solve. Here is an excerpt from realmilk.com explaining why pasteurized milk can be problematic:
We have all been led to believe that milk is a wonderful source of calcium, when in fact, pasteurization makes calcium and other minerals less available. Complete destruction of phosphatase is one method of testing to see if milk has been adequately pasteurized. Phosphatase is essential for the absorption of calcium. (2)
Gua Sha message is a great traditional Chinese medicine tool for relaxing muscles and helping relieve pain. Gua Sha is performed with a rounded edge tool, like a Chinese soup spoon. Apply an oil to the legs and then apply pressure to the leg muscles with long strokes. Make sure the pressure is firm, yet comfortable. Repeat until the skin pinks up. The increase in blood flow to the muscle tissues will encourage cell turn-over and help the body heal itself.
Sometimes when kids go through a growth spurt their skeletal structure can be out of balance. Have your child lay down and observe if their legs are even and their shoulders are level. Minor skeletal imbalances often contribute to growing pains. Seeing a chiropractor can help realign the body, which will relieve growing pains.
If your child has leg pain in the mornings which is relieved by moving, they may have a more serious condition than growing pains. Please seek advice from a medical doctor.