Services & Specialties
Functional Independence Restoration Program

Inpatient Rehabilitation for Children with Chronic Pain

Cincinnati Children’s offers one of the country’s only comprehensive inpatient rehabilitation programs for children whose severe, chronic pain is preventing them from enjoying a good quality of life.

Our Functional Independence Restoration Program (FIRST) approach helps patients learn more about their condition, develop coping skills, recondition their bodies and transition back into their lives. This inpatient program is part of the Pain Management Center at Cincinnati Children’s, which is nationally recognized for its expertise in the diagnosis, treatment and research of complex pediatric pain conditions.

Program Goals and Benefits

The FIRST Program involves intensive, inpatient rehabilitation for children and adolescents, 10-17 years of age, who are experiencing chronic pain syndromes and pain associated disability. Some patients experience significant pain relief as a result of the program, but the ultimate goal is to help them become more independent and resourceful so that they can manage their pain effectively and regain a typical life at home, at school and in their community.

Patients who benefit include those experiencing:

  • Amplified musculoskeletal pain syndromes
  • Complex regional pain syndrome (reflex sympathetic dystrophy)
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Functional abdominal pain syndrome
  • Noninflammatory joint or back pain
  • Widespread pain related to joint hypermobility syndromes

We welcome referrals for patients whose chronic pain is making it difficult for them to attend school and perform activities of daily living (e.g. difficulty with independent dressing, bathing, feeding and ambulation). This program is appropriate for those who do not have access to an outpatient pain management program and / or for those who have failed to benefit from outpatient care.

CARF Accredited

CARF gold seal.

Cincinnati Children’s has been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) for our pain programs since 2018. We are only the second institution to receive an accreditation in pediatric pain rehabilitation.

Watch a video describing our program and treatment approach.