Research suggests that 30 to 40 percent of children and teens complain of pain that occurs at least once per week. Recent studies show that if pain isn’t treated – or isn’t treated enough – it can affect a child for years to come. Up to 5 percent of adolescents have severe and chronic pain that interferes with daily living, school attendance, and activities.
We use a range of evidence-based methods to treat and rehabilitate people from pain and pain-related disability. These can include medicines, psychological treatments, complementary and integrative treatments, and sometimes procedures. For example, we can teach children strategies they can use to change their pain experience by turning it down or turning it off, in addition to using medicines to dampen overactive nerve activity. Complementary and integrative methods, such as acupuncture, may be used, too. Because we generally have so many treatments options for pain, we do not use potentially addictive opioid medications (oxycodone, Percocet, Oxycontin, etc.) to treat pain in children except in cases of pediatric cancers, sickle cell disease, and end of life care, and even those require a careful balance of risks and benefits.
We work with specialists from nearly all of Children’s Hospital’s specialty practices. We also partner with you, your child and your child’s whole healthcare team to design a treatment plan that meets your child’s and family’s needs. The approaches we recommend are based on the best available evidence and individually tailored to our patients. See our section on How It Works, and Treatments to learn more.
- Multidisciplinary pain evaluations for complex pain
- Medication management
- Pain psychology and coping techniques
- Hospital consultations
- Procedural evaluations
- Medical acupuncture and other integrative modalities
Conditions We Treat
We care for babies, children and teens who have a wide range of conditions, including:
- Pain from cancer or cancer treatment
- Recurrent pain from conditions such as sickle cell disease
- Pain in the bones, joints or muscles from conditions such as arthritis and lupus
- Chronic neck and back pain
- Fibromyalgia and other central sensitization syndromes
- Complex regional pain syndrome
- Neuropathic pain syndromes (Fabry disease, phantom limb pain, etc.)
- Headaches, including migraines, post-concussive, and chronic daily headaches
- Abdominal pain – chronic pain or recurrent pain, abdominal pain in girls, abdominal pain in boys
- Pain from changes in the nervous system, including from an injury or surgery, stiff and rigid muscles (spasticity), and dysautonomia
- Pain in children who are getting palliative care or end-of-life care
- Physical dependence in children who have been receiving certain pain medicines for a long time and need to safely and slowly stop taking them