Tuesday, January 11, 2011

DAY 99 - Growth Does Not Cause Pain

Noona, Liel and Zion rest on a hike
“Growth does not cause pain.” ~ Kristofer Young, DC

The following comes (1/11/2011) from a page called “Growing Pains” on a website called Kids Health.

“Your 8-year-old son wakes up crying in the night complaining that his legs are throbbing. ........
Sound familiar? Your child is probably experiencing growing pains, a normal occurrence in about 25% to 40% of children. They generally strike during two periods: in early childhood among 3- to 5-year-olds and, later, in 8- to 12-year-olds.

What Causes Them?
No firm evidence shows that the growth of bones [or muscles, or any other tissues] causes pain. The most likely causes are the aches and discomforts resulting from the jumping, climbing, and running that active kids do during the day. The pains can occur after a child has had a particularly athletic day.” - end quote -

In 1983 when I opened my chiropractic practice, I felt a degree of apprehension about being, myself, judged unscientific due to some perception in our culture at large, and even more so in the medical profession, of chiropractors being unscientific.

As years passed, I felt more and more comfortable, and less threaten by the possibility of being accused of being an unscientific practitioner. My comfort did not arise from impeccable adherence to scientific principles on the part of all my chiropractic colleagues, but rather, from my growing awareness that medical doctors, too, live in glass houses, and ought to be careful with stone throwing.

An example of non-science, is a diagnosis of “growing pains”. A cursory review of the medical literature, including 5 medical dictionaries and a December 2010 abstract from Pediatric Endocrinology Review titled “Growing Pains: myth or reality”, leave no doubt that there is no such thing as “growing pains”. It’s not that there is very little evidence that growth causes pain; there is none.

Recall that on the Kids Health site, they list a condition called “growing pains”, and then tell us that there is “[n]o firm evidence that the growth ..... causes pain.” Then why are so many doctors and parents calling children’s leg pain, “growing pains”. Shouldn’t they be called leg pains? Isn’t it also interesting that Kids Health states that physical activity is the likely cause of the pain, while also telling us that children are more likely to have these pains between 3-5 and 8-12 years of age. What’s the magic here; do kids between 5 and 8 stop being physically active? This is not the science I am used to.

So here is the dangerous part, if one in three children experience leg pain, and are diagnosed with “growing pains”, a condition that doesn’t exist, that means that the real causes of their pain are unknown and untreated. I hope I would not have to tell a parent how unsafe this is for these misdiagnosed children.

Let me suggest to you some scientifically reasonable causes of leg pain in children. It is a rare child with leg pain that has these probable causes evaluated.

food allergies
disturbed gastrointestinal health
aberrant spinal joint function in the low back
nutritional deficiencies
poor diet
lack of exercise

What is a parent to do? Take your child to a functional medicine practitioner (chiropractor, MD, DO, DOM, etc.) Go to the website of the Institute for Functional Medicine to get a referral: click here.

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