Question: My Child Suffers From Chronic Pain. What Issues Should We Begin Addressing Early On As Parents?
Answer: For children with chronic pain, there's a very different response that parents should have to help their child than acute pain, you know, pain from an injury or a fall. And with chronic pain, the most important thing is: what is that pain getting in the way of? Is the pain getting in the way of the child falling asleep -- or staying asleep at night? Is the pain getting in the way of eating, appetite? Is the pain getting in the way of going to school, is the child coming home from school, is the child having difficulty concentrating, doing homework? And is the pain getting in the way of social, physical, and family activities? Those are important areas to address, and there are many things that parents can do to help the child with that.
The other is finding out whether the child may be depressed or anxious, which could either precede and add to the pain, or can be a result of the pain. So, those things need to be addressed. And then finally: what else is going on that might be keeping the pain going, like: is there a bully at school, are there other stressors that are impacting the child, because we know that stress can always make pain worse.