Growing Pains Stink: What They Are & How Chiropractic Care Can Help

A young Asian boy holds is head and looks directly ahead while crying. There are visible tears on his cheeks.

I have had the pleasure of watching my three children grow into teenagers, and hopefully, I will also see them become adults.

I’m so proud that I got to watch them learn how to stand their ground, take their first steps, ride bikes, rollerblade, ski, snowboard, play sports, use technology, and so much more. How precious it was when they could hold their heads up and take their first steps. And how much I cheered them on when they were learning and excelling until they fell or got hurt. At times, I would get a sinking feeling in my stomach or tears in my eyes, knowing they just got a boo-boo.

If you are a parent or grandparent…does this sound familiar? When it happened, what did you do? Did you kiss the boo-boo to make it feel better, or have your child shake it off, knowing they can bounce back?

Injury-Caused Misalignments Are Like Onions

It stinks like an onion seeing our children get boo-boos.

Speaking of onions, I like to compare bumps, falls, and boos-boos to the layers of an onion.

It may be hard to see the connection at first, but when children fall, enough force can be created to jam and jar the spine. Children are so active all the time that they’re bound to fall over and over again, causing spinal, arm, or leg misalignments. If these misalignments aren’t corrected, they will continue to layer in the body. Those layers accumulate until one day, the onion (misalignment) becomes noticeably stinky and big (painful).

Signs & Symptoms of Misalignments

An illustration showing two skeletons. The skeleton on the left has a bent spine and the skeleton on the right has straight posture.

When the misalignment becomes severe, you may notice poor posture or a decreased range of motion or movement in your child, which can cause stiffness, health challenges, and pain. Some of these symptoms are gradual and accumulate slowly over time, from months to years, making it difficult to recognize. A child might even accept how they feel, as that is all they have known.

Are Misalignments the Real Cause of Growing Pains?

I have raised three children and have been a chiropractor for over 20 years. In my practice, I’ve regularly cared for children and don’t believe that growing pains are a part of the growing process. Growing is normal, but constant pain isn’t. What hurts the most is when children have these layers of injuries that have been left uncorrected over months and years. Instead, “growing pains” aren’t from the growing process itself, but from the pain caused by misalignments “growing” over time.

Why Misalignments Need to be Treated

It’s common for children to experience misalignments in the bones of the spine, arms, and/or legs. Misalignments in the spine are particularly bad because the spine protects the nerves that branch off the spinal cord and send messages to other systems in the body. Spinal misalignments put pressure on the nerves, causing them to become irritated. 

It’s normal for children (and adults) not to feel misalignments at first since only 10% of the nerves sense pain, while the other 90% control muscles and organs. However, as more injuries are sustained, there will be enough pressure to cause pain. The real challenge is that once the pain is felt, there are most likely months and years of layers that must be corrected to get the pressure off the nerve.

How Chiropractic Adjustments Can Treat Misalignments & Growing Pains

An unseen doctor's hands are placed on a child's back. The doctor is performing a chiropractic adjustment.

A chiropractic adjustment focuses on correcting misalignments that cause these growing pains.

Although pain relief is definitely important (because it stinks to be in pain), the problem may not be fully resolved. When enough pressure is relieved, much of the pain will go away. When this happens, a parent may be tempted to stop treatments there. Stopping treatments isn’t good because there may still be misalignments present, which will worsen with more falls, bumps, and other repetitive injuries.

Ongoing corrective chiropractic care is the real solution.

Start Ongoing Chiropractic Care for Your Child

As a parent, I know your child’s quality of life is a priority. If those growing pains are becoming too much for them, know that I and the other chiropractic doctors at Total Health Systems are here to help.

Total Health Systems is a Michigan-based multidisciplinary wellness center specializing in chiropractic care and other holistic services, including primary care, physical therapy, and functional medicine. Our goal is to get to the root of each problem so our patients can achieve and enjoy pain-free living.

If your child is in pain, please contact us today to schedule a consultation with one of our doctors.

Dr. Kevin Worley

Kevin Worley's Bio

Dr. Kevin Worley grew up in Monroe, Michigan. He received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Biomedical Sciences from Grand Valley State University in 2016. From there he completed his Doctorate of Chiropractic from Logan University in St. Louis, Missouri, focusing on rehabilitation and working in an integrative setting. Dr. Kevin has clinical experience in the St. Louis VA system, as well as rehab-focused clinics. He is committed to educating patients on the causes of pain, the importance of a healthy lifestyle as well as treating with the best and most evidence-informed therapies available