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Growing Pains

Let me explain the physical background to these growing pains. Muscles are soft and full of blood, which gives them their red colour. When muscles contract, they move the bones that make up the joints. However, during evolution, nature found that muscles were too soft and tender to pull bones effectively, so tendons were introduced. Tendons are at the end of all muscles and are attached to the bones. They are white in colour, as they have hardly any blood vessels, and tough.

At puberty, bones grow quickly, stimulated by the production of growth, hormone from the pituitary gland. This rapid bone growth pulls the muscles, and the tendons get stretched, rather like the string of a bow when you bend it. This strains them and they become painful. As I mentioned earlier, tendons have poor blood supply so when they are injured, they heal badly. Conversely, muscles, with their rich blood supply, heal easily. So during the time that teenagers are growing, they are liable to injure tendons and suffer these pains. If the stretched tendons get inflamed, the pain can be continuous. Whether this problem causes sharp pain or a dull ache, it can make children and teenagers limp with tiredness and discomfort.

Usually growing pains are most prominent at the groin, above and below the knee joints, in the lower back, especially at the base of the spine, and at the top of the neck where the muscles of the spine are attached to the back of the skull. Sometimes the bulky muscles such as the quadriceps and calves hurt. Because the shin muscles are tough and quite fibrous they can also get strained during growth, as has happened with your younger son.

Growing pains are a major problem with teenagers nowadays, partly, I believe, due to accelerated growth, which I put down to the mass-produced food they usually prefer. This is full of additives, including growth hormone in milk and meat products such as burgers.

Here are my suggestions:

  • As your GP has suggested, swimming is very good as regular exercise,-but I see no problem in them continuing with other sports, except for squash, weights and sit-ups which may cause the groin muscles to get inflamed.
  • Make sure they eat fresh, wholesome food, organic wherever possible, rather than junk food; they should get plenty of protein, including organically reared red meat and home-made chicken broth (bruise the bones before making the stock so that the nutrients are released). They should also eat plenty of non-citrus fruit.
  • Make sure they drink at least 1.5 litres of still, pure water daily. Dehydration makes the pain much worse.
  • Children deficiency need more calcium during growth. Even a slight deficiency may cause cramps in muscles, which mimic growing pains. Give them coral calcium by Ericssons: one daily in one litre of water, drunk throughout the day as part of daily water consumption. Or take one tablet of calcium citrate by Vega daily for three months.
  • Massage the ends of muscles nightly for ten minutes or so; this will warm the tendons and ease the pain. Using the ball of your palm, vigorously rub the ends of the muscles (which you will find at the groin, the top of the knee joint below the kneecap, and the achilles tendon at the back of the heel) with Dr.Ali’s Joint Oil.

Contact Dr Ali’s Clinic and Health Store for appointment and health products:
Dr Ali’s Clinic / Health Store
121 Crawford Street,
London, W1U 6BE, UK.
Tel: +44 (0) 207 224 5141, +44 (0) 207 224 5111
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