growing pains

I’ve read that there is no such thing as growing pains. However, I’ve heard my parents, as well as others from their generation, speak of growing pains. So do they exist? And if not, what really causes the pains that are often attributed to growing, such as aching legs and pains in the chest?

I’d like to know, since I always got them before a growth spurt. I’d know when I’d hit a strong growing period because my legs would ache so bad I couldn’t sleep at night. A month later, I’m a 1/2 inch taller. I had one a few months ago and gained another 1/2. Now I’m like 6’2" and still going at 19.


I definitely felt them- 6th to 8th grade was the worse. I just assumed it was because different tissues grow at different rates. You know, you leg muscles grew faster than your leg bones, or whatever.

p.s.- sigh, Kirk Cameron, you are so dreamy

I used to get terrible aches in my shins when I was a young child, that my Mom said were growing pains. Also, during my freshman year of high school I grew from 5’7" to 6’3", and every morning when I woke up my back was incredibly stiff, I couldn’t stand up straight for about an hour in the morning.

Interesting. I don’t recall ever having pains like the ones that have been described here, although I certainly would have been a candidate for them. I’m 6’2" and I stopped growing when I was 13, after two years of growing 1/2" per month. I was perpetually breaking the seams of my clothes, but no leg or back pains.


I’ve read that since they only affect the muscles, they are most likely symptomatic of the normal kid behavior of running around like a maniac, climbing trees, jumping off the garage roof, etc. I got them all the time (from all of the previous examples, too). As you get older, your muscles become more conditioned, and the pains stop (usually in the teens)

Since I was 6, I’ve periodically gotten deep pains in my knees or my hips that a) usually only afflict me at night, just when I’m going to bed, and b) tend to travel around (e.g., it might start in one knee and then travel to my hip or to the other knee). Aspirin or Tylenol don’t have much of an effect. My family doctor used to call these growing pains as well, and when I was little recommended that my parents rub some liniment on the afflicted joint - sometimes it helped, sometimes not.

Fast forward to my college check-up. The doctor listening to my heart starts to frown, asks me if I knew that I had a slight heart murmur. Nope, never heard that before, says I. He asks me if I’ve ever had scarlet fever, rheumatic fever, or if I ever let a strep infection go untreated, because these diseases could cause heart damage that would produce a murmur. My answers are “no,” “no” and “not that I know of” - my parents were pretty good about whisking me off to the doctor if something seemed wrong. The doctor then asks, “Did you ever have what they called ‘growing pains’ when you were younger?” My response was that I’d had them quite a lot, and in fact still got them.

His explanation: that the pains actually represented a sub-clinical strep infection, i.e., there was an infection present that wasn’t manifesting itself as full-blown strep. I don’t know if this is the commonly accepted medical wisdom nowadays, but it does make sense to me - the only times I get it are times when I have been pushing myself too hard, not getting enough sleep and not eating right.

Count me as one of the kids who got growing pains. I got them in my forearms and shins when I was a young teenager. My dad said that he got them in the exact same places when he was a kid, too. I remember that I would beg him to squeeze my forearms as hard as he could, because that was the only thing that helped the pain, and since he knew what the pains felt like, he was the only one who didn’t think that that was weird. The pains did NOT feel the same as sore, stiff muscles after jumping and running around; the sensation was quite different.

Reading this has reminded me of some absolutely awful cramping in my feet; it happened repeatedly when I was about 14. I’m short, but it’s possible I was going through my last growth spurt at the time (I haven’t gained an inch in a long, long time!).

Now, I’m not sure if those were growing pains, but I do remember going to the doctor with pain in my breasts when I was just sliding into puberty, and I believe he specifically attributed it to “growing pains.” I ached like crazy. I’m not huge, but am pretty well endowed for somebody my height and build, and they pretty much showed up all at once-- I was flat chested at 12, and a 36D at 13. In retrospect I’m surprised it didn’t hurt more!

I’m surprised you didn’t explode!

Osgood-Schlatter Disease (Osteochronrosis)
“Growing pain” at the knee, a temporary condition affecting adolescents who exercise vigorously. The powerful quadriceps muscles of the thigh attach to the tibia at a growth zone, a relatively vulnerable area of bone. Pain, tenderness and swelling occur at this point with repeated stress.

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My brother had Osgood-Schlatter’s. He had to wear a knee brace, and the doctor said not to play football or basketball for 6 months, and to try not to run, jump, or lift weights, because dire things could happen. Darn near killed the guy not being able to do that stuff.

Hard, deep-tissue massages were the only thing that helped my growing pains, also, pugluvr. I remember vividly one night I laid in bed bawling they hurt so bad, and dad came in and massaged my legs until I could fall asleep. I couldn’t have been more than 6 or 7.

Re: Subclinical strep infection

I honestly doubt this was the case, for me, at least. I was never honest to God sick in my life (more than a cold) until my first semester at college, when I got the flu-strep-pnemonia, bam, bam, bam, all in a row. Before that, I’d never been to the doctor for health problems before. Recent ‘growing pains’ I would be willing to believe this was the cause, however, because I am highly stressed recently. Near nightly headaches, constant eyestrain, etc.