I’m 13, and my legs have been hurting a lot. They seem to hurt more at night. The pain has even woken me up, it’s been so bad. My mom calls it “growing pains.” Is this a real thing? Is there anything I can do to help it not hurt? Mom rubs them, which helps some.

Thanks for your question. Growing pains can be normal in kids and adolescents. The pain usually affects both legs and occurs in the evening or nighttime. Some people can even wake up from sleep due to the pain. The pain usually gets better with rubbing the area, heat, and/or pain medicines (such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen).

If the pain has been going on for a while, the pain is getting worse, or you notice any other new symptoms (such as fever, weight loss, or are very tired) it’s a good idea to see your health care provider. They can do a physical exam and ask you some more questions. This will help them tell you whether growing pains or something more serious, such as a broken bone, infection, or other bone problem, causes your pain.