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Has your child ever been misdiagnosed with growing pains?

(59 Posts)
nemoni Sun 15-May-16 13:45:35

I've just spent the last year looking after a 9 year old child in daily pain. This started last spring and over the course of the year got progressively worse, and by December he was taking pain relief 3-4 times a day and still sobbing with pain at least once a day and every night. As a parent and a healthcare professional my experience and intuition told me something was wrong, and yet on a number of occasions more than one GP told me it was growing pains. After a series of frustrating GP appointments I ends up taking my son to A&E and finally started to get somewhere - and he has very recently been diagnosed with a benign bone tumour.

Over this time I have spoken to a number of parents whose have experienced - so I wondered how many Mumsnetters have a similar story?

nemoni Sun 15-May-16 14:03:09

Hit post too soon by accident (apologies!) so meant to finish with:

So I wondered how many Mumsnetters have a similar story? Have you had a child misdiagnosed with growing pains? What was the impact? Did you have concerns it was the wrong diagnosis? Did you feel that you had to fight to be listened to?

Am interested to hear if our family's experience is a common one, and if so what parents can do to raise awareness amongst the healthcare community around misdiagnosis etc.

Emochild Sun 15-May-16 14:06:59

My 12 year old was diagnosed with growing pains

Several doctors visits later I insisted on an X-ray and it showed shallow hip joints -her hips were popping in and out

Now under the physio but if strengthening the muscles around the joints doesn't work she will need a surgical correction

DoDoDoLookingOutMyBackdoor Sun 15-May-16 14:09:58

Yes. Turned out to be Juvenile Arthritis/Still's Disease.

BertieBotts Sun 15-May-16 14:13:02

Interesting. DS suffers from growing pains and his paediatrician (normal for children where we live) said to come back for further investigation if an episode persists for more than two weeks at a time or more than three times in one week. As it hasn't, I'm satisfied with the diagnosis but it seems like the further investigation part isn't happening in the UK as standard? I wonder why GPs aren't aware of this distinction.

FuzzyOwl Sun 15-May-16 14:17:01

Yes turned out to be autoimmune arthritis.

BombadierFritz Sun 15-May-16 14:18:44

Vit d deficiency caused by an autoimmune condition that was already diagnosed where vit d deficiency often occurs. I asked for the test.

leelou905 Sun 15-May-16 14:26:24

Hi, can I ask what the posters children's complained about in terms of where the pain was and was it every day or just certain sitting/standing positions?

My 3 year old used to complain daily that her knees hurt, sometimes it was just one leg and other times both. Our Dr said it was growing pains too however when she was younger our HV said she was most certainly hypermobile, yet the Dr didn't think so.
She hasn't actually complained of any pain since then and that was around Christmas time so I'm thinking maybe it was growing related.

BombadierFritz Sun 15-May-16 14:27:36

My ds had shin pain and knee and ankle pain especially. He hobbled and cried at night.

FuzzyOwl Sun 15-May-16 14:28:53

Mine was originally knee pain (both knees). Over time it extended to elbows, ankles, feet, wrists, hands and fingers.

leelou905 Sun 15-May-16 14:33:08

Ah.... I should probably monitor her then. Thank you for sharing.

DoDoDoLookingOutMyBackdoor Sun 15-May-16 14:34:38

Knee pain and a deep throbbing pain in legs, especially in the evenings and in bed.

Was very active though and played a lot of football so at first didn't seem unusual to have sore/tired legs.

Then wrists, elbows, ankles, hands etc.

gunting Sun 15-May-16 14:36:20

I had this when I was in year 4 at school (can't remember what age that is) I could barely walk for months and was diagnosed with growing pains.

Can't remember much from the time as it was years ago but I'm fine and it seemed to be the right diagnosis

Jemimapuddleduk Sun 15-May-16 14:36:47

My ds's oncologist told us there is no such thing as growing pains. Joint and bone pain always needs further investigation.

Moreisnnogedag Sun 15-May-16 14:57:37

That's the thing. You've asked who's been misdiagnosed so it will seem like loads but you don't have the denominator to compare it with.

BeyondTellsEveryoneRealFacts Sun 15-May-16 15:01:17

Not a dc, but me, and my dc now have similar pains but with the reason known. I have ehlers danlos syndrome, very common for children with it to be told it is just growing pains.

I'm sure i remember the latest research i saw said there is actually no such thing as growing pains?

ElectroStallion Sun 15-May-16 15:03:10

I worry about this- DD has pains in her legs (lower leg) and we've just assumed it's growing pains (DH had them, he grew lots, and v fast, has stretch marks etc). What if it isn't? How would we know?

BeyondTellsEveryoneRealFacts Sun 15-May-16 15:06:28

Not as in that people arent in pain, but that an underlying cause nearly always appears (even if its more than 20 years later...!)

PacificDogwod Sun 15-May-16 15:09:23

There is no such thing as growing pains.

There are many and varied conditions that can cause recurring and ongoing pain in growing children,, most of which are rather tricky to diagnose and typically require several visits and repeated test and TIME to pass for things to declare themselves.

A watchful wait with good safety netting and what warning signs to look out for is a powerful diagnostic tool and does not constitute misdiagnosis if something in the fullness of time turns out to be more serious.

Thankfully, the majority of childhood aches and pains are not part of a more serious condition, but repeated reviews for a pain that does not go away is always a good idea.

BeyondTellsEveryoneRealFacts Sun 15-May-16 15:11:30

I cant find the bloody research i'm thinking of (doesnt help that i cant remember where i saw it), glad pacific turned up to back me up! grin

Janefromdowntheroad Sun 15-May-16 15:14:22

DS had it in knees and shins

The same as I did when I was small.

I took him to the GP after it got really bad and she sent us to the hospital for emergency ped consult (they were worried about leukimia)

He was fine. Stil gets it now before a growth spurt

beesarethebest Sun 15-May-16 15:17:30

Yes. Dc was 4. Turned out to be systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis.

MarkRuffaloCrumble Sun 15-May-16 16:31:41

DS is 11 and had leg pain that was dismissed as growing pains on and off for about a year.

I feel bad that I left it so long, but I finally insisted on tests and his vitamin D was low so he now supplements that (with much higher doses than the GP recommended - she said to take a children's multi vitamin, which he has already been taking for several years!)

I suspect he also has thyroid issues, but that's another watch and wait.

I am suspicious of anyone dismissing ongoing pain as I know a girl whose leg pain was dismissed and it turned out to be a malignant tumour.

dailymaillazyjournos Sun 15-May-16 22:51:24

Another one with Ehlers Danlos (Type 2). DD had dreadful pains in both heels and was hobbling on and off for 2 years when she was about 10/11. Was told it was growing pains. I had really muscle aches and tendon pain in wrists and ankles as a child and was also told it was growing pains. I also have EDS.

I wouldn't have complained about DD's diagnosis as I don't think EDS was really known about in the early 80's.

BertieBotts Sun 15-May-16 23:49:55

DS gets it in his calves. One or the other, not normally both at once (if it is both it will be stronger in one leg). At night. He'll wake up crying at about 10/11 with it and used roll around and be inconsolable. Walking around didn't help and rubbing his legs would help a little but not overly. I did wonder if it was muscle spasms. It comes and goes and will happen for a few days in a row and then not for months. Started when he was three or four and still gets it occasionally at seven, but much less often now.

Since the doctor confirmed it was growing pains and approved giving paracetamol for it (up to 3x per week, to come back if happening more often) I just give him that and so he's much calmer about it now because he knows it will pass. He normally still wakes up crying because he's half asleep, but then once he wakes up he is able to just ask for calpol.

However before we took him to the doctor I used to sometimes give him a placebo drink of a little bit of strong squash (because we only had horrible bitter medicine that he'd drink in the strong squash and because I didn't like giving him painkillers night after night) and that seemed to work as well, and sometimes him coming into bed and having a cuddle would help so I don't know. But if we managed to get him back to sleep without any of those things he'd wake up again anything from half an hour to a couple of hours later in pain again.

Interesting to hear there is no such medical condition as growing pains. I expect it could be something related to exercise? Pulled muscle from play perhaps?

Electro hope this is helpful.

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