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10 Year Old Having Back/Leg Pains

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
For the past week or so, my dd has been complaining about pains in her legs (thigh area mainly) and her back. Sometimes if I giver her a pain reliever it goes away, but I've also had to put some heat for it. I really started noticing when she came back from swimming and it was right before bed, but yesterday when I picked her up from school the director of the afterschool program told me she had been complaining of back pain and she laid down for a little while. She is starting to develop (has little breast buds and has put on some weight). Could it be growing pains or something?
post #2 of 8
My growing pains were always in my legs. I actually have stretch marks from growing so hard in my tenth year. Also, bad charlie horse type leg cramps at night. The kind that wake you up and you hurl yourself into a standing position to get the muscles unclenched.

I could see a back hurting this way. Give it another week then go to the doc for a check-up if it is still painful.

Good luck.
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
thanks, and she did describe the legs hurting as cramps. We'll see how it goes.
post #4 of 8
Don't mean to be an alarmist, but I would take her to the doctor. My 11 year old developed lower back pain with some leg pain as well. Turns out she had a stress fracture in her lower back. Her xray was normal, but the fracture showed up on an MRI. Her orthopedic doc. told us back pain in kids is never muscle related.
post #5 of 8
Is there any chance that she might be starting her period soon? When I first got my period (at 11), my premenstrual cramps (and menstrual cramps) manifested as thigh and back pain (and they still do many times!). My breasts were barely developed when I started my period, and I had no underarm or pubic hair, which conventionally happen before menstruation!
post #6 of 8
I agree with all of the above except the "pain in kids is never muscle related". That's bunk, I'm not sure in what context the physician would say that. Muscles that are injured respond in the same way, whether it is a child or adult--inflammation and resulting pain. While I agree it could be some sort of orthopedic injury, I don't think it *has* to be.

In addition to the above suggestions, a couple of other things crossed mind:

Anemia: If she's exercising a lot (or just growing) and she is anemic, her muscles are deprived of oxygen upon exertion. This can cause cramping and residual aching.

Electrolyte imbalance: Having a lyte imbalance or being dehydrated, particularly during and/or after exercise, can cause muscle aches.

Not enough protein in her diet: If she's building muscle tissue (exercising and/or growing), protein is at the top of the list for this. Tissue is made from protein. If she's not getting enough, this means her muscle tissue can't build/repair itself, causing pain.

Poorly fitting or unsupportive shoes: Make sure her shoes fit well and provide support. Some shoe store will now evaluate your feet, to see if you need some sort of insert. Podiatrists should be able to do this, too. As anyone who works on their feet knows, improper shoes kill your legs and back.

What's her sleep surface like? Try sleeping on it yourself for a night--does it cause you pain? If so, it might be the culprit for her back and subsequent leg pain.

Does she warm up and cool down after swimming and other exercise? Could she not be stretching properly?

How is her posture? Some girls tend to slouch, particularly when they start developing. This can cause back pain et referred leg pain. Teach her to square her shoulders, and to sit and stand with good posture.

Sometimes an infection will cause muscle aches. These are usually viral, and run their course in 2-4 weeks.

If she were my child, I would check out some of the most obvious culprits, make sure she was eating, drinking, and sleeping properly, maybe add a multivitamin if she isn't already taking one, and see what happens. If the pain interferes with her ability to run, walk, sleep, or play, I would take her to the doctor.
post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks again. When my dd had her 10 year check-up her pedi did say that she would probably get her period within the next year or so. She is starting to develop breast buds. As far as her eating habits, if can fluctuate. One day she has a huge appetite and the next she doesn't want to eat at all. So I need to make sure she is taking a multi-vitamin.

She has always been a really good water drinker but since the weather has changed and she sweats like crazy, I do keep gatorade on hand.
post #8 of 8
Oddly, the physician who told us that lower back pain in kids is never muscular in nature is one of the physicians for the US Swim Team. I'm absolutely not saying there isn't something else going on in the case of 1xmom's dd, just relating our recent experience. I wish someone had advised we see a specialist (her primary misdiagnosed), because one of my daughter's stress fractures healed improperly and because of that she's had to quit her sport of choice. Of course some kids have spondys, never know it, and heal just fine. Once again, not trying to be an alarmist.

Spondylolysis, a stress fracture in the vertebra is the most common cause of back pain in teenagers. Almost half of all back pain episodes in children are caused by spondylolysis. The second most common cause of low back pain in teens is posterior element overuse syndrome.
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