Does My Teen Have an Injury or Is It Growing Pains?

Kids can go through many different phases during their teenage years. Their bodies are growing and changing so quickly, which can lead to mysterious aches and pains that seem to spring up overnight. 

So how do you know when this is truly a problem or just a little case of growing pains?

At Integrated Body and Medicine, we’re experts in all kinds of care, including injuries or pain-related problems. We determine if your child is truly suffering from some type of injury that’s causing their pain or if the pain is coming from something less problematic.

What are growing pains?

From the time your child is born, they are continuously growing. This is no different when they become teenageers. In fact, they can have growth spurts that seem like they’ve sprung up a whole foot overnight. 

So does this growth cause pain? The answer isn’t as clear as you’d think. Growing pains are a common ailment in kids, often leading to complaints of aches and pains in the legs. They often feel discomfort behind their knees or in the front of their thighs. 

Your child may also describe their discomfort as a throbbing sensation, and it usually affects both of their legs. They might complain of this discomfort in the evening or overnight, because it may wake them from their sleep.

The discomfort of growing pains usually is intermittent and could be accompanied by headaches or abdominal pain. But this isn’t always the case. 

How do growing pains differ from an injury?

When your child complains of pain, you become worried pretty quickly. But growing pains, unlike an injury, aren’t harmful. Your child eventually outgrows these pains at some point during their teenage years. 

We don’t completely understand what causes these pains, but researchers believe they may be linked to a lower pain threshold. 

Injuries, on the other hand, do have a definite cause and usually follow some kind of accident, like a fall or blunt trauma. Injuries also usually have symptoms other than pain, such as:

If your child has any of these symptoms along with pain, and you know they had some kind of trauma, the most likely culprit is an injury, not growing pains. Also, the pain from an injury is usually constant, but growing pains come and go, then eventually fade away.

When you should seek treatment

It’s hard to know if you should seek medical treatment for your teen’s pain or if you should just treat it at home. Many times, if the discomfort they’re feeling is growing pains, it can be relieved by home remedies, such as:

If these measures don’t improve your teen’s pain, something else may be going on. Seek medical treatment if your teen’s pain is persistent or if the pain:

You also should schedule an appointment with our team if your teen has a fever or signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, or a rash. These are all signs you should be on the lookout for, because they aren’t signs of simple growing pains. 

If your child is complaining of mysterious aches and pains and you’re concerned, call our Highland, Indiana, office at 219-803-6630 or schedule an appointment through our online system.

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