Pain Treatment Services

Pain Treatment Services at Boston Children's Hospital, a division of the hospital's Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine, 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.

Every year we care for more than 2,000 children of all ages who have pain from a wide range of medical conditions. Children with cancer, sickle cell disease, hemophilia, AIDS, cystic fibrosis and other medical diseases form a challenging but rewarding group of patients.

Our program offers the following programs and services:

A team approach to care

All patients seen by Pain Treatment Services receive care from a board-certified pediatric anesthesiologist, in addition to evaluation by a psychologist who specializes in pain management through behavior medicine and a physical therapist.

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

Pain Treatment Services at Boston Children's Hospital offered the world’s first randomized trial of patient-controlled analgesia 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 worldwide.

About half of our patients receive patient-controlled analgesia (a method of administering analgesia through a pump activated by the patient) while another quarter receive epidural anesthesia (in which pain medications are injected through a thin tube or catheter embedded in the lower back). The remainder receive a variety of treatments tailored to their individual factors.