Over the past month, we have shared with you a few of the most interesting topics and conversation emerging in the world of pain management. The September 2013 gathering of the American Academy of Pain Management (AAPM) allowed for discussion of a variety of topics with some of the most prominent research, development and clinical care professionals in our field.
One topic that clearly had a new, higher, level of important focus at this year’s gathering was an emerging field of research indicating that pain in children goes largely untreated. A study conducted by Purdue Pharma included data on 25.5 million pediatric patients and indicated that up to 76% of children in medical settings did not receive prescription pain medication. Conditions in the study associated with pain included sources of common childhood complaints like orthopedic conditions, trauma, arthritis, and migraine. (source: www.purduepharma.com)
While it is likely that some children in the study did receive recommendations for appropriate dosages of over-the-counter medications like Tylenol, this study does highlight the disparity between pain medicine practices in adults and children. If you have a child who expresses that he or she is experiencing pain, or if your child is likely to experience a painful medical procedure in a doctor’s office or in a hospital setting, you can and should educate yourself in order to make sure that your child is receiving the pain control interventions he or she deserves. There are some great educational resources you can take advantage of, such as The University of Michigan Health System web site:www.med.umich.edu/yourchild/topics/pain.htm, where a variety of topics in pediatric pain management are covered, including:
- Causes of pain in children with a focus on specific kinds of childhood pain
- Recognizing and describing pain in children
- Prescription pain medications
- Alternative and complementary pain treatments
Some recommended reading related to the topic of pain control and children include:
- Conquering Your Child’s Chronic Pain: A Pediatrician’s Guide for Reclaiming a Normal Childhood, by Lonnie K. Zeltzer and Christina Blackett Schlank.
This book is a guide to how parents can help their children with chronic pain
- Healing Images for Children: Teaching Relaxation and Guided Imagery to Children Facing Cancer and Other Serious Illness, by Nancy Klein.
The first section of this book is for adults and the second section is for kids.
- A Boy and A Bear: The Children’s Relaxation Book, by Lori Lite.
Written for ages 3-10, this book teaches kids how to relax and calm themselves through an engaging story.
- Pain in Infants, Children, and Adolescents, by Neil Schechter, Charles Berde and
Myron Yaster. This is the definitive text for professionals on pain in children and youth.