Get answers about your child’s chronic pain

father comforting child with chronic pain
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When your child has chronic pain: Tips for parents

Because chronic pain can be challenging to treat, it’s normal for families to feel like they’ve failed their child. But the truth is that parents play a critical role in supporting their child’s ability to cope with pain.

“By taking a positive attitude and modeling healthy behaviors, parents can help their children take an active role in their treatment and recovery,” explains Deirdre Logan, PhD, director of psychological services for the Division of Pain Medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital. Here, she shares more tips for parents of kids with chronic pain.

Because chronic pain can be challenging to treat, it’s normal for families to feel like they’ve failed their child. But the truth is that parents play a critical role in supporting their child’s ability to cope with pain.

“By taking a positive attitude and modeling healthy behaviors, parents can help their children take an active role in their treatment and recovery,” explains Deirdre Logan, PhD, director of psychological services for the Division of Pain Medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital. Here, she shares more tips for parents of kids with chronic pain.

Because chronic pain can be challenging to treat, it’s normal for families to feel like they’ve failed their child. But the truth is that parents play a critical role in supporting their child’s ability to cope with pain.

“By taking a positive attitude and modeling healthy behaviors, parents can help their children take an active role in their treatment and recovery,” explains Deirdre Logan, PhD, director of psychological services for the Division of Pain Medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital. Here, she shares more tips for parents of kids with chronic pain.

Validate your child’s experience of pain.

All pain is real and is caused by a complex interaction between the brain and the rest of the body. If your child’s body has been in pain for a long time, their brain can continue sending pain signals even if there is no longer any tissue damage.

All pain is real and is caused by a complex interaction between the brain and the rest of the body. If your child’s body has been in pain for a long time, their brain can continue sending pain signals even if there is no longer any tissue damage.

All pain is real and is caused by a complex interaction between the brain and the rest of the body. If your child’s body has been in pain for a long time, their brain can continue sending pain signals even if there is no longer any tissue damage.

Set goals.

Resuming routines and activities can help to regulate your child’s nervous system function, reduce pain, and improve their mood. Passive strategies, such as prolonged periods of rest, can actually worsen pain symptoms and can contribute to the onset of new pain problems and psychological challenges.

Resuming routines and activities can help to regulate your child’s nervous system function, reduce pain, and improve their mood. Passive strategies, such as prolonged periods of rest, can actually worsen pain symptoms and can contribute to the onset of new pain problems and psychological challenges.

Resuming routines and activities can help to regulate your child’s nervous system function, reduce pain, and improve their mood. Passive strategies, such as prolonged periods of rest, can actually worsen pain symptoms and can contribute to the onset of new pain problems and psychological challenges.

Avoid asking about your child’s pain.

Asking a child how they feel throughout the day draws their attention to their pain symptoms. This attention is proven to increase pain. Tell your child to let you know if their pain changes significantly, but don’t ask about it otherwise.

Asking a child how they feel throughout the day draws their attention to their pain symptoms. This attention is proven to increase pain. Tell your child to let you know if their pain changes significantly, but don’t ask about it otherwise.

Asking a child how they feel throughout the day draws their attention to their pain symptoms. This attention is proven to increase pain. Tell your child to let you know if their pain changes significantly, but don’t ask about it otherwise.

Encourage an active role.

Parents often try to help every way possible to make their child’s life easier and more comfortable. But when your child has chronic pain, sometimes doing less for them is key in their recovery process. As a result, children start to see themselves as being more capable of managing their own discomfort.

Parents often try to help every way possible to make their child’s life easier and more comfortable. But when your child has chronic pain, sometimes doing less for them is key in their recovery process. As a result, children start to see themselves as being more capable of managing their own discomfort.

Parents often try to help every way possible to make their child’s life easier and more comfortable. But when your child has chronic pain, sometimes doing less for them is key in their recovery process. As a result, children start to see themselves as being more capable of managing their own discomfort.

Know that it’s not all in their head.

Working with a psychologist does not imply that chronic pain is a psychological problem. Research supports the benefits of psychological strategies for pain relief, functional improvement, and reduction in mood-related symptoms. Psychological interventions are critical in developing pain management strategies and lowering a child’s risk of developing anxiety and depression or experiencing worsening mood symptoms as a result of pain.

Working with a psychologist does not imply that chronic pain is a psychological problem. Research supports the benefits of psychological strategies for pain relief, functional improvement, and reduction in mood-related symptoms. Psychological interventions are critical in developing pain management strategies and lowering a child’s risk of developing anxiety and depression or experiencing worsening mood symptoms as a result of pain.

Working with a psychologist does not imply that chronic pain is a psychological problem. Research supports the benefits of psychological strategies for pain relief, functional improvement, and reduction in mood-related symptoms. Psychological interventions are critical in developing pain management strategies and lowering a child’s risk of developing anxiety and depression or experiencing worsening mood symptoms as a result of pain.

Emphasize lifestyle approaches.

It’s common for children with pain to experience sleep challenges. However, poor sleep has been shown to predict worsened pain symptoms and higher pain sensitivity. Maintaining healthy sleep habits and engaging in regular low-impact aerobic exercise are critical for pain management and overall health.

It's also important for children with chronic pain to attend a regular school schedule as much as possible. A psychologist can be helpful in finding ways to support your child remaining in school in spite of pain, and working with the school to implement temporary accommodations that may make this more manageable.

It’s common for children with pain to experience sleep challenges. However, poor sleep has been shown to predict worsened pain symptoms and higher pain sensitivity. Maintaining healthy sleep habits and engaging in regular low-impact aerobic exercise are critical for pain management and overall health.

It's also important for children with chronic pain to attend a regular school schedule as much as possible. A psychologist can be helpful in finding ways to support your child remaining in school in spite of pain, and working with the school to implement temporary accommodations that may make this more manageable.

It’s common for children with pain to experience sleep challenges. However, poor sleep has been shown to predict worsened pain symptoms and higher pain sensitivity. Maintaining healthy sleep habits and engaging in regular low-impact aerobic exercise are critical for pain management and overall health.

It's also important for children with chronic pain to attend a regular school schedule as much as possible. A psychologist can be helpful in finding ways to support your child remaining in school in spite of pain, and working with the school to implement temporary accommodations that may make this more manageable.

Be patient.

Unfortunately, there’s no quick fix for resolving persistent pain. As many pain problems develop over months and years, it can take time for your child’s nervous system to respond to pain differently. Focus on achieving functional goals gradually over time to sustain long-term benefits.
It's also important for children with chronic pain to attend a regular school schedule as much as possible. A psychologist can be helpful in finding ways to support your child remaining in school in spite of pain, and working with the school to implement temporary accommodations that may make this more manageable.

Unfortunately, there’s no quick fix for resolving persistent pain. As many pain problems develop over months and years, it can take time for your child’s nervous system to respond to pain differently. Focus on achieving functional goals gradually over time to sustain long-term benefits.
It's also important for children with chronic pain to attend a regular school schedule as much as possible. A psychologist can be helpful in finding ways to support your child remaining in school in spite of pain, and working with the school to implement temporary accommodations that may make this more manageable.

Unfortunately, there’s no quick fix for resolving persistent pain. As many pain problems develop over months and years, it can take time for your child’s nervous system to respond to pain differently. Focus on achieving functional goals gradually over time to sustain long-term benefits.

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