Mayo Family Pediatric Pain Rehabilitation Center Overview

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Dealing with a chronic pain diagnosis can be overwhelming for both the child and the family.  Searching for treatment options and choosing the one that is best for your child can be an additional burden to families already under tremendous stress.  An interdisciplinary team approach to pain treatment (physical therapy, occupational therapy, psychology, nursing and MD management) has been proven to be the most effective in helping children return to their normal lives.

The Mayo Family Pediatric Pain Rehabilitation Center at Boston Children’s Hospital is an intensive interdisciplinary rehabilitation program that serves the needs of children and adolescents with chronic musculoskeletal and neuropathic pain. Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), also known as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), is the most common diagnosis given to children referred to our center.

Program participants are typically between 7 and 18 years old.

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), also known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD), is the most common diagnosis given to children referred to our center.

The PPRC is located at Boston Children's at Waltham. Our hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 8am to 4:00pm.

Mission Statement

The primary mission of the PPRC at Boston Children's is to provide intensive interdisciplinary rehabilitative treatment for children and adolescents with chronic neuropathic/musculoskeletal pain with associated limb dysfunction, most commonly due to CRPS/RSD. This partial-hospital treatment program is particularly appropriate for the subgroup of patients who have not had sufficient reductions in pain or improvements in limb dysfunction with conventional outpatient treatment. A second mission of the PPRC is to conduct state-of-the-art clinical and translational research into the mechanisms underlying CRPS/RSD and to evaluate factors that impact on clinical outcomes.

Treatment Goals


The PPRC helps individuals to accomplish the following goals:

  • Regain control of their lives
  • Resume normal function, including school, play and socialization
  • Reduce or eliminate emotional distress related to the pain
  • Regain the physical strength and endurance necessary for full involvement in life activities
  • Re-establish more normal relationships with family and friends
  • Reduce level of pain, when possible
  • Replace a self-image of disability with one of wellness




The core interdisciplinary team at the PPRC includes physical therapists, occupational therapists, psychologists, nurses, and physicians.  The physicians are pediatric subspecialists with expertise in care of children with chronic pain. They include pediatric anesthesiologists and pediatric neurologists.

Our core staff consists of:

  • A clinical coordinator
  • Physical therapists
  • Occupational therapists
  • Psychologists
  • Attending physicians




ImageOur 2500-square-foot space, on the ground floor of Boston Children's at Waltham, includes:

  • 2 bio-behavioral therapy rooms
  • 2 private physical therapy rooms
  • Physician consult room
  • Functional training area
  • Therapeutic pool with shower and changing area
  • Conference room
  • Activity room for participants
  • 2 handicap access bathrooms
  • Administrative office

The 2500-square-foot space, on the ground floor of Boston Children's at Waltham, includes:

  • bio-behavioral therapy rooms
  • private physical therapy rooms
  • a physician consult room
  • a functional training area
  • a therapeutic pool
  • an activity room

History of the Pain Treatment Service


The Pain Treatment Service at Boston Children's Hospital was established in 1986 as a multidisciplinary program for acute and chronic pain management for children. Within the first year of operation this evolved into an inpatient Acute Pain Service and an outpatient Chronic Pain Clinic.

Since opening our clinic in 1986, we have been treating patients with RSD/CRPS on a regular basis. Over 750 children and adolescents with this condition have been seen here since 1986. For the subgroup of patients who had refractory pain or limb dysfunction despite outpatient treatment, we have had the option of inpatient admission to Children's for more intensive treatment, including physical therapy, cognitive-behavioral treatment and, in selected cases, trials of epidural infusions, peripheral nerve blocks or plexus infusions. Currently, these patients are admitted predominantly to the 10 NW unit in the Main building. Even with an inpatient setting, there are limits to the intensity of rehabilitative treatment that can be provided in an acute care tertiary hospital setting. For a number of years, we have looked to develop a setting that would permit more intensive and more cost-effective rehabilitative treatment of RSD/CRPS and related disorders.

In 2006, through the generosity of Sara Page Mayo and Richard Mayo, Dr. Charles Berde was awarded an endowed chair in Pediatric Pain Medicine. The Mayo Family followed this with a second donation of start-up funding to establish the PPRC as an innovative approach for rehabilitative treatment of RSD/CRPS using a partial-hospital model. After evaluation of several venues for the program, and in consultation with hospital leadership, the Waltham site was chosen. Planning, design and construction proceeded through late 2007 and early 2008. We enrolled our first patients in June, 2008.

The future of pediatrics will be forged by thinking differently, breaking paradigms and joining together in a shared vision of tackling the toughest challenges before us.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO

Boston Children's Hospital 300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115 617-355-6000 | 800-355-7944