Pediatric Pain Rehabilitation Center | Our Approach to Treatment

Our treatment team consists of providers from a variety of disciplines. Providers within each discipline work with children and teens (participants) and parents or other caregivers during individual, family, and group treatment sessions throughout the day. Participants are also responsible for meeting evening and weekend expectations, such as home exercise programs and outings.

Each member of the PPRC treatment team has a unique role in helping participants reach their goals during the program, using evidence-based approaches. In addition to these providers, caregivers also have a very important role in treatment. Caregivers work together with providers to support participants’ progress throughout the program.

Medical and nursing management

Our medical team consists of physicians, nurse practitioners, and a clinical assistant who work with participants and their caregivers at the PPRC. We embrace a holistic practice that focuses on wellness and that supports participants’ active involvement in their health care and functional recovery. We ensure every child receives appropriate diagnostic assessments before and during PPRC admission. The team collaborates with referring provider, and conducts daily assessments to monitor vitals and manage medications. We also offer weekly caregiver appointments to review treatment plans and answer questions.

Physical therapy

Our physical therapists help each participant set individualized treatment goals to help regain their independence in functioning through exercise, education, and collaboration with the PPRC team. Our approaches include aerobic exercise, strength training, balance training, stretching, movement training, and reintegration into community-based sports or activities. We also help participants identify coping strategies and develop plans to support independent management of their pain.

Occupational therapy

Our occupational therapists help participants reestablish healthy habits and routines so they can continue to participate in daily activities. Our approaches include self-management strategies (active coping strategies, self-regulation, pacing), self-care/home management, sensory retraining (desensitization), school simulation, ergonomics, community reintegration, and home exercise programs.

Psychology

Chronic pain isn’t just a physical experience; it’s also an emotional one. Our psychology team focuses on helping participants build coping? skills and set goals. Our approaches include teaching about how the nervous system works, the biopsychosocial model, and the cycle of pain and disability. We also work with participants to develop active coping strategies for managing pain, manage emotions and behaviors that might impact pain or interfere with treatment, provide family education and support, and facilitate and plan for the return school and other life activities.

Recreational therapy

Recreational therapy involves activity-based approaches that help participants improve their social, emotional, physical, spiritual, and mental well-being. Recreational therapy helps motivate participants to try new leisure activities or return to activities that were enjoyable in the past. Approaches include creativity and self-expression activities, dog therapy, and skill building.

Music therapy

Our music therapists provide music-based interventions that address participants’ physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs. We promote the use of music as a coping strategy for pain management and to facilitate self-expression. After assessing participants’ strengths and needs, the music therapist uses techniques including creating, singing, moving to music, and listening to music.

Social work

It’s important to acknowledge the effects chronic pain can have on caregivers as they balance supporting participants with managing their own life experiences. Our social worker helps caregivers understand their role in treatment. We meet with caregivers regularly to connect, problem solve, identify strategies for addressing common challenges, and share resources for families. We also support caregivers as participants make progress toward self-management of pain and their return to important life activities.

The role of the caregiver

Caregivers play an important role in the success of participants admitted to the PPRC. Our goal is to help you develop the skills and tools needed to support participants’ management of pain, return to functioning, and maintenance of their progress after they discharge. Throughout the program, we help you learn both how to assist participants in achieving program goals, and when to allow participants more independence with self-management. This may mean changing the way you usually help participants when they are in pain. Our team is here to partner with you and your child to develop a plan that works for your family. Here are a few ways we encourage caregivers to be involved in participants’ treatment at the PPRC:

  • Arrive on time to all appointments and meetings during admission.
  • Be sure participants arrive on time each day for treatment.
  • Encourage participants to maintain active involvement in treatment.
  • Encourage and praise participants’ use of active coping strategies to manage pain.
  • Maintain expectations and routines, like completing Home Exercise Plans, even when pain increases.
  • Validate participants’ efforts and acknowledge both big and small improvements.
  • Support participants’ gradual progress toward independently managing pain.