Growing Pains and Chiropractic

In the September 26, 2006 Research Update of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA) comes a preliminary case study that reviews the process of a young boy with growing pains under chiropractic care. In this case a 3 year old boy was suffering from complaints of leg pain and lower back pain. In addition, he experienced pain in both feet, headaches and recent bed wetting. He had received no prior treatment except for his parents massaging his legs.

The case study notes that the term growing pain has been used for approximately 150 years. The term was first coined by Duchamp in 1832 in his treatise, “Maladies de la Croissance.” Studies indicate that what is termed as “growing pains” occur in approximately 20% of children and may be as high as 37% and is slightly more prevalent in girls compared to boys.

The study notes that growing pains may begin in infancy with the greatest discomfort between the ages of 3-5 years and generally seem to disappear as the child matures. A number of conditions have been implicated (though not fully substantiated) as possible factors in growing pains such as rapid growth, overexertion, rheumatic conditions, infection, sacroiliac joint dysfunction, orthopedic defects, vague ill health, and psychological factors.

The diagnosis of this condition is usually made by excluding other conditions and therefore leaving only the idea that the pains are “growing pains”. In the case of this young boy, a chiropractic examination revealed the presence of subluxations and a course of care was initiated.

The care consisted of 15 visits over a 13 week period. After the first adjustment, the patient did not complain of leg pain for three days. After 7 visits, the mother reported that her son was sleeping through the night without leg pains. By the 15th visit, the child had become and remained symptom-free for almost 3 weeks. The author’s conclusion of this study was, “This case report provides supporting evidence of the effectiveness of chiropractic care in children with growing pains.”