The Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital pain management program is part of the Division of Anesthesia, Pain and Perioperative Medicine and offers both acute pain service for admitted patients and now has a chronic pain clinic for the outpatient population. As the program expands, it is quickly becoming one of the most comprehensive pediatric pain management programs in the state of Florida.
“Once we started the full-fledged physician-led acute pain service in 2013, we recognized that there was a need for an outpatient chronic pain clinic,” says Allison Fernandez, M.D., medical director of the pain management program. “We were seeing a lot of children who developed chronic pain leaving the hospital with no one to turn to.”
The newly established chronic pain clinic treats children facing a wide range of conditions such as rheumatic diseases, complex regional pain syndrome, lower back pain and chronic headache–including migraines. There is limited access to pediatric pain management care, making this team one-of-a-kind in Florida–and possibly beyond.
“Having a group of physicians who can really take care of children who have chronic pain is really unique and it’s important,” Fernandez explains. “These patients suffer, they get sent all over the place and then in the end, there’s nobody really to help them. There’s a lot of adult pain clinics, but they’re not comfortable treating children, so they get turned away.”
The chronic pain team is made up of a dynamic team of physicians and experts–including three physicians, a psychologist, and an occupational and physical therapist. Each expert plays a vital role in restoring children and teens to health.
“When we treat them, we can’t just treat their pain,” Fernandez says. “That’s why it’s important to have all of the components because these patients who do have chronic pain, they do develop a psychological component, such as anxiety or depression.”
Future plans for the chronic pain clinic also include an interventional day program where patients will visit the clinic for extensive therapy and treatment every day from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for three consecutive weeks.
“The idea is to have the patients come to our clinic, and then we’ll identify the patients who we feel would benefit from the interventional day program,” Fernandez explains.
The pain management program also offers:
- Non-pharmacological pain treatments such as meditation videos and massage therapy.
- Protocols to help with pain control for surgeries including the pectus excavatum repairs and spinal fusion.
- Interventional pain blocks – nerve blocks to help with pain control.
Visit https://www.hopkinsallchildrens.org/services/pain-management for more information about the pain management team at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital.