More kids need help in coping with pain
Posted by Brie Zeltner August 25, 2008 16:27PM
Despite big advances in the understanding and treatment of pain in children, chronic pain in kids remains an undertreated problem.
The myth that children don’t feel the same amount of pain adults do persists, despite diagnoses of “adult” conditions such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome and intractable headaches.
At the Pain Center at Akron Children’s Hospital, a team of pediatric pain specialists, massage therapist, acupuncturist, nurses, physical therapists and other experts come together to care for kids much like in an adult pain center. The main difference is that treatment of pediatric pain patients always is more conservative, said director Dr. Ibrahim Farid.
“Anytime I give a kid a medicine, I still think of it as a conservative treatment, but I try to save that as a last resort,” he said.
His plan for most kids relies heavily on physical therapy, coping techniques, massage therapy and acupuncture, which all are available in the same office.
“I do believe in the biology and the physiology of the patients [to heal] themselves,” he said.
After three years of pain, frustration and bouncing from doctor to doctor, 17-year-old Jacqui Reese was tired of trying to convince everyone that the pain in her legs wasn’t from shin splints. Her toes were so stiff they wouldn’t bend, her legs would swell up and turn blotchy, and her shins felt like they were being repeatedly stuck with knives.
Reese, of Doylestown, finally found relief at the Akron pain center after Cleveland Clinic doctors diagnosed her with fibromyalgia and complex regional pain syndrome, a little-understood disorder that can strike after an injury has healed and causes continued pain and swelling.
She has been pain- and medication-free since completing six months of therapy in February.
“In the first month, it was really amazing how much of a difference there was,” Reese said. A dedicated soccer player, she recovered even faster when she stopped occasionally jumping in at practices and decided to just work on getting better.
“I want to play in college, so I want to focus on that and not risk going through what I did before.”