Are night pains ‘growing pains?’

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Our 4-year-old son has pains in his legs and arms and can wake up screaming in the night because of this but that the medical response was that they were just “growing pains”. Is this the case? 

This was a fairly common issue, especially in adolescence when there could be a lot of muscle and joint pain. A small study in the past didn’t show that there was any underlying problem which would cause long term damage. In most cases, the symptoms respond to normal analgesics such as Calpol or paracetamol or sometimes even a physical thing like a hot water bottle eases the local pain. It does tend to get better with time. It’s a question which needs more research but at the moment the specific cause can’t be pinpointed. There is a suggestion that many people with the condition are vitamin D deficient although in at least one case, treating this didn’t seem to alleviate the problem.

Question asked and answered at our family’s day 2015