Five-year outcome of children with "growing pains": correlations with pain threshold

J Pediatr. 2010 May;156(5):838-40. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2009.11.078. Epub 2010 Feb 20.


Objective: To examine the 5-year outcome in a cohort of children with "growing pains" and the association with changes in pain threshold.

Study design: Subjects were 44 children with growing pains studied previously, and controls were 38 pain-free children matched by sex and age. Current status of growing pains and other pain syndromes were assessed by parental questionnaires. Pain threshold was measured with a Fisher-type dolorimeter. Outcomes were correlated with the pain threshold.

Results: We examined 35/44 patients (80%) after 5 years. Eighteen patients (51%) experienced resolution of growing pains. In 14 of the 17 patients with persistent growing pains (83%), episodes were less frequent and milder. The prevalence of accompanying pain syndromes decreased from 20% to 14%. No patient developed fibromyalgia. Pain thresholds were similar in the entire growing pains cohort and healthy controls, but those with continued growing pains had significantly lower thresholds than controls (P <.05) and patients with resolved growing pains (P <.02).

Conclusions: We confirm that growing pains has a benign prognosis and probably represents a pain amplification syndrome of early childhood.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Growth / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Musculoskeletal System / physiopathology
  • Pain / physiopathology*
  • Pain Threshold*