Skip to content

Aches & Pains in Children: Symptoms, Causes & Relief

  • Children’s aches and pains might sometimes be difficult for you to understand.
  • You may find your child with painful bumps and bruises from all the running, jumping and climbing that growing children do, or sometimes they may complain of pain in their legs without any obvious cause – often called “growing pains.”  
  • Older children may be able to answer the question all parents ask at some point – “where does it hurt?” – but that can be difficult in much younger children, for example children who are teething.  


Here is some information about a few common examples of aches and pains in children. The bad news? They can make your child uncomfortable. The good news? There is suitable relief for these pains.

Causes of aches and pains

Growing pains

Growing pains are common in children, particularly in those aged 3-5 years and 8-11 years, and typically occur later in the day or at night. The cause is unknown, but bone growth itself hasn’t been proven to cause pain. The aches are mainly found in the leg muscles, like the front of the thighs and back of the knees and their calves, rather than in the joints.

Bumps and bruises

Children often injure themselves while playing, like falling over. If you see swelling or discolouration, it might be a bump or a bruise. Seek medical attention if you are concerned about your child’s injury.

Teething Pains

As your child’s teeth emerge, your child can be more irritable. This is part of your child’s growth, and some things to look out for to help identify teething pain include:

  • More drool and dribble than usual
  • Biting and chewing on anything available
  • Being a bit more grumpy than usual
  • A mild temperature

How to relieve aches and pains

Growing pains

Some of the things you can try to comfort your child if they’re complaining of aches and pains include:

  • A gentle leg massage
  • A heat pack or warm bath
  • Medicines that reduce pain, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen
  • Plenty of cuddles and reassurance

Bumps and bruises

While bumps, knocks and bruises can be painful, they are usually easy to treat. Here are a few things you can try to soothe your child’s pain:

  • Rest the injured part, and elevate it if possible. Ice the injured area with a cold pack or ice wrapped in a cloth, and compress it with a firm (but not tight) bandage
  • If necessary, you can use an appropriate pain reliever containing ibuprofen, like Nurofen for Children.

Teething Pain

Teething can be a painful part of childhood development, but there are ways to help try and relieve the discomfort. Here are a few things you can try to take your child’s mind off teething pain:

  • Give them a teething ring to chew on
  • Play with your child to distract them from the pain
  • Gently rub their gums with a clean finger
  • If necessary, you can use an appropriate pain reliever, such as ibuprofen, the active ingredient in Nurofen for Children.

Why Ibuprofen can help

Ibuprofen relieves inflammation and pain, and also combats fever.

Why Nurofen For Children can help your child

Nurofen for Children comes in a variety of formulations for children of different ages from 3 months to 12 years.


This article is for general information only and not intended as a substitute for medical advice. All information presented on these web pages is not meant to diagnose or prescribe. In all health-related matters, always consult your healthcare professional.


Always read the label. Use only as directed. Incorrect use could be harmful. If symptoms persist, see your healthcare professional. Do not use if you have a stomach ulcer. Do not give to babies under 3 months of age. Seek medical advice for children under 12 months of age. Reckitt Benckiser, Auckland. TAPS NA 12948. RB-M-40419.