Where does it hurt?
Pain is a complex and unique experience that affects all areas of a child’s life. Whether the pain is caused by an injury or illness or extends beyond the expected time of healing, it can affect your child’s activities, eating and drinking, and impact relationships, school, family life and sleep.
At Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, we treat pain in kids due to any cause. From small injuries and blood tests to complex diseases, there are countless reasons a child may experience pain.
Some of the painful conditions we address in the hospital and pain clinic include:
Acute pain is caused by damage or inflammation of tissue and needs to be aggressively treated to ensure that children heal faster. Examples include:
Longer lasting pain, which continues after the expected time of healing, is often called chronic or complex pain. Research has shown that this in fact is real pain, and may be triggered by injury or illness, or may just occur “out of the blue."
Children and families who experience chronic pain may see an increase of hopelessness, loss of dreams and goals, increased stress, sleep disturbances and symptoms of depression or anxiety. Without an effective and intense intervention, the cycle can continue. Kids with chronic pain become adults with chronic pain. But we won’t let that happen. Instead, we see children at the pain clinic and through an interdisciplinary approach, we teach them to manage their pain.
Types of chronic pain include:
Research at Children’s in 2013 showed that children consider needle pokes as the worst pain experience in a hospital and clinic. We are working on improving procedure pain with procedures such as:
We always consider a child’s age when determining the best way to control pain. What works for a newborn is different from what works for a toddler and what works for a teenager. For instance, when it comes to preventing procedural pain due to a vaccination, a patient’s age largely determines the pain-control techniques we use. Breastfeeding or sucrose pacifiers often work to soothe infants, blowing bubbles distracts toddlers, while older kids find relief in playing video games or reading a book.
We take an interdisciplinary approach and combine as many services as needed to give children and families power over pain. Evidence-based research shows that the most effective pain management combines medication management with supportive and integrative, non-drug therapies to manage a child’s pain. Here are some of the techniques we use to address different types of pain:
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