The multidisciplinary approach to pain treatment
Symptoms of chronic or recurrent pain are common in children and adolescents. Research suggests that upwards of 30 to 40 percent of children and teens complain of pain that occurs at least once per week.
Who should treat my child’s pain?
In the Pain Treatment Service, we embrace a “state of the art” multidisciplinary pain management team approach, one that encourages children and families as active players in their own care. This approach draws on a team of doctors and nurses with a wide range of pain-related expertise, including:
Pediatric Pain Management Specialists
A pediatric pain management specialist is typically a pediatrician and/or anesthesiologist with extra training in treating children with pain problems. The specialist will evaluate your child’s pain and work with you to decide on the best combination treatment approaches for your child, including medication treatments, physical therapy, psychological services and possibly other medical interventions as well.
Pain can deeply affect both child and family's quality of life. Learning techniques to actively manage the pain helps the effectiveness of pain treatment. Psychologists who specialize in pain management can help your child and family develop skills for coping with pain. Many “cognitive behavioral” and biobehavorial approaches can help decrease pain, such as:
- relaxation techniques
- relaxation training
- cognitive pain control
Psychologists often also work with families to help increase their child’s level of functioning, preparing them for things like:
- going to school or back to school
- interactions with peers
- getting back to doing things she used to do before the pain developed
Psychologists can address anxiety, sadness, anger and frustration that children and adolescents often feel if they have chronic pain problems. We also recommend supportive family counseling, either with a Boston Children's psychologist or one at a community location convenient to you.
Nurses or Nurse Practitioners
Nurses or nurse practitioners help teach families about pain disorders and pain management, and answer questions or concerns that come up during treatment.
Physical therapy, or PT, can be very effective in helping treat chronic pain disorders. Physical therapists work with families and children to decide which combination of physical activities, exercises and other treatments will best help increase each child's strength, endurance, and ability to deal with day-to-day activity requirements.