• For Healthcare Professionals

    The Pain Management Center at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center is nationally recognized for its expertise in the diagnosis, treatment, research and education of complex pediatric pain conditions. Our physician specialists are board-certified in pediatric pain management, and our center is home to one of the few pediatric pain basic science programs in the United States. In 2007, The Pain Management Center became the first pediatric pain program in the country to receive the American Pain Society’s Clinical Center of Excellence Award.

    Full Spectrum of Conditions Treated

    The Pain Management Center at Cincinnati Children’s treats patients with a variety of medical diagnoses, symptoms and disabilities resulting from chronic pain. Our goal is to help patients participate more fully in daily activities and to develop pain coping skills that help them to successfully manage pain and return to school, home and community life.

    Typical problems evaluated by the Pain Management Center include:  

      • Abdominal pain
      • Back pain
      • Complex regional pain syndrome (reflex sympathetic dystrophy)
      • Fibromyalgia
      • Nerve pain caused by an injury or resulting from toxic or genetic causes
      • Post-concussive headache
      • Pain and symptoms caused by Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis and other conditions
      • Pain from: cerebral palsy; sickle cell disease; epidermolysis bullosa and severe eczema; metabolic and hereditary diseases
      • Pain-related mental health conditions or symptoms such as depression or anxiety
  • Our specialists take a holistic approach, evaluating each patient’s situation from a medical, psychosocial and emotional perspective before developing a pain management strategy unique to the child’s needs. Many treatment regimens can take place close to home under the care of the child’s referring physician. For pain-related disability that requires intensive treatment, we collaborate with our colleagues in Rehabilitation Medicine to provide comprehensive inpatient pain management at the hospital.

    Pain management strategies and therapies include:  

      • Physical and occupational therapy
      • Cognitive-behavioral therapies
      • Medications
      • Transcutaneous nerve stimulation
      • Nerve blocks and trigger point injections
      • Integrative medicine, including: massage; acupuncture; martial arts; yoga; meditation

    Cincinnati Children’s is a leader in pediatric pain research. As a founding member of the Pediatric Research Network for Pain, we work with other leading institutions to develop clinical trials that advance the understanding of pain and pain management therapies.

    Current research initiatives include:  

      • Participation in the NIH-funded Patient Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) study, which explores how patients communicate their pain experience.
      • Laboratory studies to enhance our understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying sensory neuron responses to peripheral injury. The goal is to develop new therapies for musculoskeletal pain associated with ischemia and other painful conditions.
      • Studies that focus on parental responses to chronic pain as well as child pain expression and pain behaviors.
      • NIH-funded research that explores cognitive-behavioral therapy for patients with juvenile fibromyalgia and long-term outcomes of children with chronic pain.

    In addition, the Pain Management Center is one of only two ACGME-accredited pediatric pain fellowship programs in the country and is a major training site for pediatric pain psychologists. Lectures for pediatric residents, observerships for practicing physicians, and multidisciplinary pain seminars are also conducted routinely.

    When should I consider making a referral to the Pain Clinic?
    Primary care practitioners see the vast majority of pain complaints and manage them quite well. Occasionally, a pain condition presents itself that is perplexing, multifaceted or resistant to standard treatments. We make our services available for this subset of pain conditions. Neuropathic pain (including RSD), residual cancer pain, pelvic pain, refractory pain of long duration with high levels of disability and pain behaviors in developmentally disabled children are conditions that would warrant a referral.

    How can I provide the best pain care to my patients?
    As consultants, we recognize and respect the therapeutic bond between primary practitioners and their patients. We strive to forge an alliance with the practitioner to provide the smoothest, most coordinated care for our shared patients.

    Communication is of the utmost importance. Therefore, you will receive a letter detailing our comprehensive evaluation after the first visit, as well as brief notes after follow-up visits. We will try to coordinate the initiation of new medications or therapies if there is any risk of interference with an existing plan of treatment.

    We ask only that you do not start or stop pain-related medication without contacting us, as several medications have either drug-drug interactions or withdrawal symptoms. We have a physician on-call at all times to respond to emergency needs that arise.

    Finally, we spend a fair amount of time and effort “de-medicalizing” pain. We try to reduce the emphasis on tests and procedures, once life-threatening entities have been ruled out. We ask for your cooperation in not ordering more tests, X-rays or other such things, even at the risk of irritating the patient or parents. Often, the more unnecessary tests are done, the slower the progress is.

    How can I ensure a smooth referral process for my patients?
    As a consulting service, we must receive a physician consultation request to receive reimbursement from most insurance companies. We request that pre-certification numbers for “pain physician, ” “physical therapist” and “psychologist” be sent along with the physician consult. Sending these pre-certification numbers will avoid delays in scheduling appointments.

    Any relevant records, tests and radiological studies should accompany the initial letter. Certainly, sending copies along with the patient is helpful. We often receive a consult request that reads, in total: “evaluate and treat chronic (insert body part) pain,” which minimally serves the patient. The more relevant information we have at the time of evaluation, the better we can help the patient and primary physician alike.

  • Referral Information

    For patient referrals and non-urgent consultation during business hours, contact the program directly at:

    * Phone: 513-636-7768

    * Fax all referrals to 513-803-1111