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Your initial visit to the Chronic Pain Clinic at Boston Children’s Hospital includes a comprehensive evaluation by a team of specialists. Here’s what to expect and how to prepare.

Before your visit

Prior to your initial visit to the Chronic Pain Clinic, we will email you a link to WeCope. This secure, confidential tool will allow you to share information with our clinic’s staff before your first visit. WeCope will include the date of your appointment, location, directions, and information about hotel accommodations if you are traveling from out of town. It will also list the providers you should expect to see on the day of your evaluation. You will receive a second link with some additional questionnaires to complete closer to the day of your appointment.

Because your initial visit includes a very in-depth evaluation, it is extremely important that we are able to review your medical records from other providers. This allows us to make your evaluation as complete and successful as possible. Please have all prior medical records faxed in advance of your appointment. Our fax number is 617-730-0199.

If you have questions before your initial visit, please call the clinic at 617-355-7040.

During your visit

Your initial Chronic Pain Clinic appointment will be a multidisciplinary evaluation with a physician, psychologist, and sometimes a physical therapist. It is an in-depth evaluation that lasts for about four to five hours. You should arrive at 8 a.m. and can expect to leave around 12:30 or 1 p.m.

A physical therapist may evaluate you at the same time as the pain physician. The physician and physical therapist work together during your visit to best understand your pain and how we can help you. The physical therapist will perform a physical examination, which might include evaluation of your muscle strength, coordination, range of motion, and ability to move and function. The physical therapist will work with your care team to make recommendations to optimize your physical functioning. Recommendations are individualized but, in general, evidence shows that active participation and self-management approaches work best for patients with ongoing pain.

Our physical therapist may recommend:

  • activities that focus on regaining function in self-care and leisure activities
  • increasing tolerance to touch and other sensations
  • increasing flexibility, strength, coordination, and endurance

You will also see a pediatric pain psychologist as part of your visit. These psychologists are experts in pain management who help children and families develop skills for coping with pain. Meeting with a pain psychologist does not mean that we think the pain is “all in your head”. Regardless of the causes of pain, there are a variety of approaches such as relaxation, mindfulness, and cognitive techniques that can help decrease pain through re-training the brain and learning how to regulate your body’s reactions.

A variety of approaches, such as relaxation, mindfulness, and cognitive processing techniques, are highly effective in decreasing pain through retraining the brain and learning how to regulate your body’s reactions. Psychologists often also work with children and families to help them increase functioning (for example, going to school, interacting with peers, doing the things you used to do before the pain developed). They can also address the emotional impact of pain and feelings such as worry, sadness, or frustration that often accompany chronic pain. In your first visit to our pain clinic, the psychologist will take time to understand how any of these factors play a role in your pain experience and identify brain-based treatment approaches that can be a useful part of your pain treatment plan.

After your visit

If you have clinical questions after your initial appointment, you can contact the chronic pain nurses at 617-355-8930. To schedule another appointment or for other administrative questions, please call 617-355-7040.

Please note that we require five days’ advance notice of a medication refill.

Transitional Pain Clinic

We also see patients who have chronic pain or a history of poorly managed postoperative pain and require surgery. In this innovative approach, the Chronic Pain Clinic provider will see your child prior to surgery and help to create an individualized perioperative treatment plan with the surgeon, anesthesiologist, and our Inpatient Pain Service team. In many cases, we will continue to see your child postoperatively to help manage their pain and pain medications.