Pain Control Beyond Medicine

We also use non-medicine pain therapies to help your child with pain and stress. These complementary therapies can be used alone or along with medicine, depending on your child's needs:

  • Activities like imaginative play and everyday routines give kids a chance to focus on things beside pain and discomfort. 
  • Aromatherapy uses the essential oils of certain plants to promote relaxation and healing.
  • Biofeedback: assisted relaxation training that teaches child to monitor and reduce pain.
  • Breathing Techniques help children relax and provide distraction from pain.
  • Guided Imagery uses visual images, music and positive thinking. This reduces pain and promotes relaxation and healing.
  • Infant/Pediatric Massage helps to relax and comfort babies with a loving touch. These are special types of massage designed for infants and young children.
  • Micro-Current Point Stimulation uses ultrasound stimulation of nerves and muscle to help prevent and control pain.
  • Music Therapy helps children express moods and feelings. It can help a child relax and focus on something besides pain.
  • Physical Therapy uses methods like heat or cold therapy.
  • TENS- (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) uses stimulation of the skin to relieve pain by interfering with nerve signals.
  • Therapeutic Touch helps children relax and reduces anxiety.

Comfort Measures for Specific Age Groups

Depending on the age of your child there are some comfort measures that you or the nurse may do to reduce their pain.

Babies

Babies may express their pain by crying, grimacing or yawning/sneezing. They may be restless or they may be less active. They may "cling to you" or be difficult to soothe. They might lose interest in feeding or eating. What you can do?
Talk with the healthcare team about your baby's pain. Here are some steps you can take to help ease your baby's pain:

  • Offer a pacifier
  • Rock your child in your arms
  • Change the baby's position
  • Play soothing music
  • Give your infant a massage
  • Swaddle your baby (a nurse can show you how)

Your child's doctor or nurse or another member of the hospital staff can give you more tips and answer your questions. Parents and healthcare providers can work together to ease your child's pain in the Hospital and get ready for going home.

Toddlers and Preschoolers

Toddlers and preschoolers feel pain but cannot always tell us where the pain is located. They may even say they do not have pain if they think that will let them go home or avoid a procedure. You may see a change in their normal behavior and patterns of eating, sleeping and playing. They may protect the body area where the pain is located, and may actively resist procedures. Others may lie very still and refuse to move. Because children of this age use a lot of "magical thinking," it is important to let them know their pain is not punishment for real or imagined misbehavior. Things you or your child's nurse can do to help:

  • Offer toys or computer tablets as distraction
  • Have your child blow bubbles (or catch a bubble that you blow)
  • Provide praise and encouragement
  • Offer choices when appropriate
  • Sing a song or read a book
  • Play soothing music
  • Hold your child's hand
  • Give your child a massage
  • Encourage normal play
  • Offer your child's favorite blanket, stuffed animal or toy

Your child's doctor, nurse or another member of the hospital staff can give you more tips and answer your questions. Parents and healthcare providers can work together to ease your child's pain in the hospital and get ready for going home.

School-age

School-age children can tell you when they have pain and in which body part. You may notice a difference in their normal behaviors and patterns of eating, sleeping, and playing. Children this age are afraid their bodies will be damaged or change. Things to try or your child's nurse can do to help:

  • Relaxation techniques
  • Deep breathing
  • Toys, movies, computer tables, or books what provide a distraction
  • Storytelling
  • Playing soothing music
  • Give your child a massage

Your child's doctor, nurse or a member of the hospital staff can give you more tips and answer your questions. Parents and healthcare providers can work together to ease your child's pain in the Hospital and get ready for going home.

Preteens and Teenagers

Preteens and teenagers can describe the location and intensity of pain. To avoid "losing face or looking like a baby," they may not want to say they have pain, especially around their friends. Teens should not be teased or ashamed if they cry or demonstrate pain in other ways. Things you or your child's nurse can do to help are:

  • Be supportive
  • Encourage deep breathing
  • Play soothing music or music they enjoy
  • Encourage relaxation and guided imagery
  • Provide distraction with movies, video games, computer tablets or books

Your child's doctor, nurse or care team member can give you more tips and answer your questions. Parents and healthcare providers can work together to ease your child's pain in the hospital and get ready for going home.