Some children suffer from normal leg pain when they are growing up. But that is not always the cause of bad nights, and some may have Restless Legs Syndrome without anyone noticing. Pain or discomfort in the legs? Pay attention, look better how your child feels in the legs when they do not let him sleep. Here we explain the difference.
24:30 One of your children get to your room with tears in his eyes, and just see you know what is … “Are your legs again?” . It is not the first time that he gets up at midnight with a discomfort in his legs that does not let him sleep. Fortunately, there is no reason to worry yet, because pain in the legs at night is a common problem in children.
In order to help your child, the first thing you need to do is change the question and say “what do you feel exactly?”. Many times children are so sleepy that they can not say with certainty what they feel, but that fact is important because it will help you define what your problems with your legs are.
In most cases, these problems in the legs may be due to growth pains . You can easily recognize them if your child feels pain in the thighs, calves or behind the knees, just before falling asleep or at midnight. Yes, the pains of growth occur in the muscles and not in the bones or in the joints as some might believe.
Children between 3 and 12 are those who feel these pains more. And doctors think they show up especially when they overuse their muscles during the day.
When your child can not stop moving his legs during the night because they bother him, it could be because he has Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) . It is a syndrome a little strange for its symptoms, but more common than many imagine. Maybe you yourself have ever felt it without knowing what it was: a discomfort in the legs that makes the person feel a strong need to move them to calm the discomfort. In effect, the movement calms the discomfort, but only for a while until the discomfort returns and the story repeats itself throughout the night … so nobody can sleep!
Although this syndrome is more recognized in adults, it can also be given to children, and apparently very few parents notice it or very few pediatricians diagnose it simply because they confuse symptoms with growing pains or with hyperactivity.
Two keys to recognize if your child has Restless Legs Syndrome are:
- No pain specifically, but something like tingling, burning, tingling, pricking, etc.
- Not only does it happen at night, but also when it is quiet during the day, like when you watch television or when you have to be sitting in the classroom
When sleepless nights are due to growing pains, everything will go to oblivion when your child stops growing. But if what your child has is Restless Legs Syndrome, it is best to consult with the pediatrician or another doctor. It’s not that SPI is a complicated health problem, but because it tends to increase with age instead of disappearing, and that’s why the faster your child receives treatment, the better.
But the good news is that, whatever the cause of the discomfort in your legs, there is still much you can do to help calm your child during those sleepless nights and help him fall asleep:
- Do relaxing massages on your legs
- Put warm cloths
- Organize the routine of going to sleep, insisting that you respect the time to go to bed to sleep enough hours
- Teach you to do leg stretches before bed
- A warm shower before bed can help you relax your body
And if the pain persists, you can give Ibuprofen (Advil) or Acetaminophen (Tylenol) to soothe the pain. But, consult with the pediatrician first.