How do we define 'growing pains'?
- Dr. Shawn Thistle
“Doc, my 5 year old wakes up sometimes with really sore legs, what’s happening?”
This is a question we often hear in practice (or something we experience with our own children), and the answer we normally provide is “growing pains”. But, do we know how “growing pains” are defined in the literature and how to properly diagnose this condition? This week’s Review summarizes the first scoping review I’ve ever seen on this topic and it highlights what we know, and what we don’t know about this common clinical entity…
Growing pains are thought to be a common cause of musculoskeletal pain in children, with an estimated prevalence from 3.5% to 36.9% depending on the country, setting, and definition. There is a great deal of uncertainty as to the definition of growing pains and whether it is a diagnosis of exclusion for nonspecific musculoskeletal pain or a specific condition or pathology. Many causes have been suggested including anatomic, psychological, vascular and metabolic causes. However, all of these are either unsupported by research or have inconsistent evidence.
This article aimed to identify the ways growing pain(s) are defined in peer-reviewed literature and diagnostic systems.
THIS WEEK'S RESEARCH REVIEW: “Defining Growing Pains – Scoping Review”
This paper was published in Pediatrics (2022) and this Review is posted in Recent Reviews, Pediatrics, Clinical Practice and the 2022 Archive.