Clinical Reference Systems: Pediatric Advisor 10.0
Muscle Pain (Cramps and Strains)
- Your child complains of pains in the muscles of the arms
- The pain is not due to a known injury.
- Pains are often preceded by vigorous or excessive
For limb injuries see Bone, Muscle, and Joint Trauma.
There are two main causes of muscle pain. Brief acute
pains are usually due to muscle cramps. Foot or calf
muscles are especially prone to cramps that can awaken a
child from sleep. Continuous pains are usually due to
strenuous activity (muscle overuse)or forgotten muscle
injuries during the preceding day. Both of these normal
pains have been incorrectly referred to as growing pains.
- Treatment for muscle cramps
Muscle cramps occur in a third of all children. During
attacks, stretch the painful muscle by pulling the foot
and toes upward as far as they will go to break the
spasm. Massaging the painful muscle with an ice pack is
also very effective. Future attacks may be prevented by
daily stretching exercises of the heel cords (lean
forward at the ankles with the knees straight).
- Treatment for strained muscles
Massage the sore muscles with ice for 20 to 30 minutes.
Repeat this three or four times a day for 2 days. If
the muscles are still stiff on the third day, have your
child take a hot bath for 20 minutes and gently exercise
the involved part under water. Give acetaminophen for
CALL YOUR CHILD'S PHYSICIAN IMMEDIATELY IF:
- The muscle pain is severe AND persists more than 2 hours
after your child takes pain medicine.
- A joint becomes swollen.
- Your child starts acting very sick.
CALL YOUR CHILD'S PHYSICIAN DURING OFFICE HOURS IF:
- The pain persists more than 7 days.
- You have other concerns or questions.