The treatment of pain includes many therapies based on the cause. Mild pain is often managed with single therapies. Severe and complex pain requires combined therapies including medication, physical therapy, psychology and relaxation training. Treatments include:
- Some pain, like for arthritis, is due to inflammation. An anti-inflammatory medication would be useful to treat this type of pain.
- Nerve injury can bring a different type of pain, which will respond to medicine designed to calm misfiring nerves.
- Pain is made worse by depression and tension, so relaxation training, massage and healing touch can be helpful.
- Biofeedback, acupuncture and TENS units are other ways to treat pain.
- Biofeedback training teaches children techniques that can improve health and performance by using signals from their own bodies to help control heart rate, blood pressure, temperature and muscle tension
- Acupuncture is the procedure of inserting and manipulating needles into various points on the body to relieve pain or for other therapeutic purposes
- "TENS" stands for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. This is a palm-sized device that uses a small amount of electrical current to help the body shut down incoming pain messages at the level of the spinal cord. It can be useful for localized pain (pain in a specific area), and has few side effects.
At Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, a wide variety of pain therapies is offered. These include medicines and high-tech therapies, as well as humanistic and holistic health. Your child's doctors and nurses will work with you to find the combination that is right for your child. For severe or complicated pain conditions, your child's doctor may consult with the Pain Management Service at Cincinnati Children's.
Your primary pediatrician or family physician can handle most of the common types of pain. If basic evaluation and treatments have not helped, your child's primary doctor may refer you to a specialist. For example, an orthopaedic surgeon will have options for the best care of a broken bone or sprained ankle. A hematologist will help manage sickle cell disease pain. Gastroenterologists can help evaluate abdominal pain.