Stories about: chronic pain

Psychological interventions’ critical role in managing chronic pediatric pain

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Chronic pain is viewed as one of the most common problems in pediatrics. Current estimates suggest that approximately one in four children experiences an episode of chronic pain lasting three months or longer. Of those who experience chronic pain, 77 percent have more than one kind of pain problem.

The issue is common, but the approach for optimally managing these challenging cases is still evolving. One thing is certain, though: Because chronic pediatric pain is so complex (involving an extensive variety of factors), diagnostic testing and treatment are both extremely costly (costing more than $19 billion per year in the U.S. alone) and time consuming, taking weeks, months or in some cases even years to complete.

While thorough diagnostic testing is critical, chronic pain and pain-related disability can wreak havoc on a child’s life and exacerbate the problem even while the investigation unfolds. Arming parents and children with adaptive coping strategies to manage chronic pain — regardless of its origin — promotes better function and reduces psychological comorbidity. Psychological interventions may help change a child’s recovery trajectory by reducing pain, stress and functional disability, and may be protective if applied early in a child’s experience of pain. …Read More

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Matching children in chronic pain with the right treatment

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(Giovanni Cancemi/Shutterstock)

Chronic pain ranks with ADHD and asthma among the most costly chronic pediatric conditions in the United States. To some extent, the cost—roughly $19.5 billion annually—stems from the large number of children—an estimated 1.9 million—seen for pain every year.

However, in large part the problem may also be one of matching children and adolescents in pain to the appropriate treatments. As psychologist and pain specialist Laura Simons, PhD, and collaborators recently noted in PAIN, pediatrician surveys reveal a lack of consensus when it comes to diagnosing pain, making treatment planning a challenge and potentially putting children at risk for chronic pain problems as adults.

“We’re not catching pain problems early enough,” says Simons, who works in Boston Children’s Hospital’s Department of Anesthesia, Perioperative and Pain Medicine. “Patients may undergo multiple medical procedures, or see several specialists before a diagnosis is given or an appropriate treatment plan is put into place.”

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