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Southern Medical Journal:
Featured CME Topic: Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Pain Management in Children: Developmental Considerations and Mind-body Therapies

Gerik, Susan M. MD

Continued Medical Education
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Abstract

One of the most challenging roles of medical providers serving children is to appropriately assess and treat their pain. Pain is one of the most misunderstood, underdiagnosed, and undertreated/untreated medical problems, particularly in children. New JCAHO regulations regard pain as “the fifth vital sign” and require caregivers to regularly assess and address pain. This review focuses on the clinical assessment of pain, based on a developmental model and addresses common beliefs and myths that affect the management of pain in children. We provide a review of the pain literature that focuses on the integration of mind-body therapies into the management of procedure-related pain, headache, and recurrent abdominal pain in children.

Key Points

* Pain in children is often misunderstood and undertreated.

* Pain in children must be assessed giving appropriate attention to their age and developmental stage.

* Mind-body therapies may be useful in the attenuation of pain and anxiety that often accompany medical procedures.

* Mind-body therapies may be useful in treating elusive pain syndromes such as recurrent abdominal pain and recurrent headaches.

© 2005 Southern Medical Association

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