Functional Abdominal Pain Program

Boston Children’s Functional Abdominal Pain program is uniquely located within our Motility and Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders Center. We are the only hospital in the country that has a dedicated pain specialist as part of its GI motility center (Dr. Neil Schechter).

Our integrated team of GI doctors, pain specialists, psychologists, nutritionists and social workers are able to bring a broader perspective to GI functional issues and address overlapping physical and psychological conditions that may be occurring in your child. Meet our GI motility team.

What is Functional Abdominal Pain?

Approximately 10 to 15 percent of school-age children experience functional abdominal pain (also known as intractable abdominal pain) at some point. Functional abdominal pain is often accompanied by diarrhea, constipation or both and can be related to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Our team addresses this chronic pain among other issues. For instance, 25 percent of children with abdominal pain also have headaches. The treatments for abdominal pain and headaches are very similar, and we can discuss those options at the same time, in the same visit.

Functional Abdominal Pain Program at Boston Children’s: Our Approach

Our team understands how the abdominal pain has a major impact on your functioning and quality of life. We specialize in focusing on the triggers of the pain, but most importantly in how to control it. We will look into and beyond the abdominal pain your child may be experiencing to see how it may be related to other conditions that are occurring simultaneously.

For example, your child may have multiple pain problems stemming from heightened sensitivity to light, sound or diet. He or she may also be suffering from fatigue, sleep disorders, anxiety and depression that complicate recovery. Our team will work with you to address all these concerns and to help your child return to school, activities they enjoy and a more normal life.

Functional Abdominal Pain Treatment

Our team will first provide you with a thorough explanation of the nature of the pain and the treatment approach. Our treatment options include:

  • Multidisciplinary rehabilitation
  • Cognitive behavioral treatments
  • Pain control
  • Physical therapy
  • Nutrition advice
  • Treatment of associated symptoms and problems
  • Identification and treatment of specific triggers of the pain
  • Reintegration to school

Make an Appointment

For an appointment, more information or to obtain a second opinion for your child, please contact the Functional Abdominal Pain Program at 617-919-7437 or request an appointment online.