The Pharmacologic Treatment of Chronic Pain in Children: Are We Any Better Off Today?

In the last three decades we have witnessed the expansion of the scientific study of pain and its treatment: from bench to bedside, from biology to psychology, the treatment of pain has gone from a discipline based on experience and anecdote to one based on scientific evidence. In the treatment of adults there has been a steady growth in novel … [Read more...]

Poor functional outcomes in pediatric chronic pain – what’s catastrophizing got to do with it?

Catastrophizing has long been implicated in many poor outcomes in chronic pain-related conditions in both adults and children [3,4,11,12,14,15,18,20,22,24,29]. Scholars have called for interventions to reduce catastrophizing in children with chronic pain with the hope of improving outcomes [1,16,36]. However, important unanswered questions remain … [Read more...]

Do kids once in chronic pain break free?

After the long and winding road towards diagnosis, many children with chronic pain conditions improve with standard outpatient therapy approaches such as a combination of physical and cognitive behavioral therapies with or without medications. However a subset of children and teens with intractable and disabling pain require a more intensive … [Read more...]

A Journey to Learn about Pain – a book about pain education for children

Persistent pain in children is an increasingly recognized clinical problem with high prevalence rates found in some populations. A conservative estimate posits that 20% to 35% of children and adolescents are affected by persistent pain worldwide (1). The most commonly reported pain problems in children and adolescents are headache; abdominal pain; … [Read more...]

Is chronic widespread pain passed down from parents to children? 

Nearly everyone experiences pain that is felt in the bones, joints, muscles, tendons, or ligaments at some point – commonly termed ‘musculoskeletal pain’. For example, 80-90% of people experience low back pain at some point in their life, with approximately one in three reporting chronic (or long-lasting) symptoms [1]. Chronic musculoskeletal … [Read more...]

The pediatric pain equation: Where do parental injustice appraisals of pain fit in?

Pain is not a singular physical sensation. It can be amplified or reduced by a multitude of physical, psychological, and social factors. For example, we recently found that when children view their pain as “unfair” or “unjust” (pain-related injustice appraisals) they also report more pain, impairment, and worse functioning, even after we accounted … [Read more...]

Does early stress or adversity increase the likelihood of chronic pain for kids?

The short answer is “it’s unclear”; but as a pediatric pain psychologist and researcher at Boston Children’s Hospital (Boston, MA, USA), I am currently looking to increase our understanding of this relationship. Historically, going through certain stressful experiences in childhood (also known as Adverse Childhood Experiences [ACEs]; abuse, … [Read more...]

Will this pain treatment program make my child better?

In 2008 (eek, that’s a decade ago…) I began my faculty career as an attending psychologist in the newly minted Mayo Family Pediatric Pain Rehabilitation Center (PPRC) at Boston Children’s Hospital, Boston, MA, USA. I was lucky enough to be a part of an interdisciplinary team that watched many young people change the trajectory of their lives - once … [Read more...]

LBP in children and adolescents

Is back pain a problem for kids? One of the things that some universities do to help out new researchers is have senior academics look over their grant applications before they are submitted. Recently we had a proposal for a study on back pain in adolescents assessed in this way. One of the comments was that back pain is not a problem for … [Read more...]

Editor’s picks: How does watching a parent in pain impact children’s own pain experiences?

Over this holiday season we are publishing our Editor’s picks of 2017 for you to read and enjoy again.  — Pain problems tend to run in families; if you have a parent with chronic pain you are also more likely to experience chronic pain yourself 1. While a simple explanation for this phenomenon is that parents and children share genetics that may … [Read more...]