Pain Management for Children
At Hurley, our goal is to help control your child's pain as much as possible.
Pain control is a critical part of your child's overall treatment and recovery. The medical team at Hurley Medical Center is dedicated to working with you and your child to develop a pain management plan specifically for him/her. Your nurse will ask your child frequently about the type and severity of the pain, and work with your child to manage and control it. It is very important for your child to be honest and clear about the level of pain he/she is experiencing, and to report it as soon as it occurs. Make sure your child reports any pain that is not being adequately controlled.
It is important that your child describes the pain
Your child is the expert about how he/she is feeling. Make sure he/she tells the doctor or nurse when he/she has any kind of pain. To help describe the pain, he/she should report:
- When the pain began
- Where he/she feels pain
- How the pain feels—sharp, dull, throbbing, burning, tingling
- If the pain is constant, or if it comes and goes
- What, if anything, makes the pain feel better
- What, if anything, makes the pain feel worse
- If medicine helps with the pain, the length of time that he/she gets relief
Controlling your child's pain
As a patient, your child can control pain by:
- Using relaxation techniques or listening to relaxing music
- Changing position in bed or getting up and moving around
- Asking a family member rub his/her back
- Using cold packs or heat if the doctor approves
Medications can play an important role in pain management:
- Your child's doctors and nurses will work with your child to decide which medications will work best. This may include anti-inflammatory drugs that relieve pain and swelling. There is no risk of addiction to these drugs.
- Your child may also receive narcotic drugs (opioids). These medicines are effective for severe pain. Your child may receive these drugs in pill form, a shot, an IV, or even through a Patient Controlled Analgesia Pump (PCA), or epidural catheter. It is not common that hospital patients develop an addiction to the medications used to manage their pain. However, some patients may have higher risk factors than others depending on their history.
Your child should:
- Set a pain control goal, such as being able to participate in therapy.
- Report pain before it becomes severe. It is harder to control the pain once it has taken hold. Also, if your child waits to ask for pain medication until the pain is severe, the pain may get worse if there are any delays.
- If your child knows the pain will get worse when he/she starts walking or doing breathing exercises, take pain medicine first.
- Use the numbered scale (0-10, with 0 meaning no pain, 5 or 6 meaning moderate pain, and 10 meaning the worst pain possible) to report the level of pain he/she is experiencing. This helps the doctors and nurses know how well the pain treatment is working and whether to make any changes.
- Tell the doctors and nurses about pain control methods that have worked or not worked for your child before.