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Go Ask Mom

Creaky joints aren't just for adults

Posted February 22, 2010 7:11 p.m. EST
Updated February 23, 2010 11:55 a.m. EST

Sore muscles and creaky joints aren't just for us adults. Kids can get them too.

In fact, musculoskeletal pain is one of the most common childhood complaints, says Dr. Laura Schanberg, professor of pediatrics at Duke Medicine. Only in the last 10 to 20 years have pediatricians recognized that pain is a normal part of growing up.

Researchers have estimated that anywhere between 5 to 30 percent of children have chronic pain. Most aren't cause for concern ... about 30 percent of complaints are caused by trauma, 28 percent to overuse, 18 percent of normal skeletal growth and 8 percent to growing pains. Whatever the cause, Schanberg says, the pains can last for several months or even years and are more common in girls and older kids. Studies have shown that about half of all girls complain about some kind of musculoskeletal pain during their teenage years.

But pain can also signal many underlying diseases. Children with an illness usually have other symptoms and abnormal results during physical examinations.

To learn more about diseases that might cause pain of the bones, joints and muscles in children, go to