Pain Treatment Services

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Pain Treatment Services at Boston Children's Hospital was the first multidisciplinary program in the world to provide treatment and support for acute and chronic pain in children and young adults. Since our founding in 1986, we have remained the most clinically active program of our kind in the world.

We provide care for more than 2,000 patients each year, most of whom are post-operative. Children with cancer, sickle cell disease, hemophilia, AIDS, cystic fibrosis and other medical diseases form a challenging but rewarding group of patients.

Our program, offered through the Department of Anesthesia, includes:

  • Acute Pain Treatment Service: a consultative service to help manage your child’s pain while he or she is in the hospital.
  • Chronic Pain Management Clinic: an outpatient clinic that treats children and adolescents who have a variety of pain problems, including headaches, reflex sympathetic dystrophy, fibromyalgia, lower back pain and patellofemoral syndrome.


A team approach to care

In addition to receiving care by an anesthesiologist, all patients are evaluated by a psychologist who specializes in pain management through behavior medicine, and by a physical therapist.

 Patient-controlled analgesia is administered to about half of our patients, and epidural anesthesia to another quarter. The remainder receive a variety of treatments, depending on their individual factors.

Our expertise: the world's first trial of patient-controlled analgesia

Pain Treatment Services offered the world’s first randomized trial of patient-controlled analgesia (a method of administering analgesia through a pump activated by the patient) in pediatrics in 1991.

Children and adolescents who were allowed to control their own dosage of analgesia after major orthopedic surgery expressed less pain and greater satisfaction than patients receiving morphine administered intramuscularly. They were less sedated, as well. This trial paved the way for today's frequent use of patient-controlled analgesia.

The Comfort Ability: A Pain Management Workshop for Youth with Chronic Pain and their Parents

The Comfort Ability is a fun and interactive program focused on improved pain management.  The program is run by staff psychologists at the Pain Treatment Service and introduces cognitive behavioral and biobehavioral pain management strategies.  The Comfort Ability program emphasizes the mind-body connection and offers non-invasive and non-pharmaceutical strategies for improved pain management.  This program is designed to provide families with a foundation for understanding how psychological interventions can facilitate improved pain management.   It is also designed to provide adolescents and their parents with the skills that are necessary to encourage improved functioning from both an emotional and physical perspective.  Youth ages 10-17 are eligible.  You do not have to be a current patient within the Pain Treatment Service to participate.  Please contact Dr. Rachael Coakley for more information: 617-355-7581.

Request an Appointment

If this is a medical emergency, please dial 9-1-1. This form should not be used in an emergency.

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If you have questions or would like more information, please call:

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