Chronic illnesses usually bring long-term and recurring pain with them, and the pain is often heightened during treatment sessions. Children don’t easily verbalize what they’re feeling, so to better assess your child’s current symptoms, pain, and joint functioning, have him/her draw pictures or color on a body-outline graphic to show the problem areas.
Keep a pain log to regularly record your child’s levels of pain. This will help the doctor assess how well different medications are working.
The “Growing Pains” support group helps kids and teens struggling to balance growing up with the ache of chronic illness. For information, email firstname.lastname@example.org .
When you know your child is uncomfortable, help him/her deal with the pain by offering a distraction from it. Here are several tactics to try:
- Coach your child into imagining a tranquil place that is special to him/her. This is more readily accomplished by reminding your child of a pleasant experience from the past. Quietly describe how the place affects his/her senses − sight, sound, and touch.
- Use stories to redirect your child’s thoughts by bringing some favorite books along with you for appointments.
- Play tapes and CD’s of relaxing nature sounds or soothing music. Bring a headset for use when you’re away from home.
- Encourage the use of comfort objects, such as a beloved stuffed animal, cozy blanket, or cushy pillow.
- Comfort and reassure your child with a gentle massage or by holding his/her hand.
- Remain positive in outlook and tone, offering emotional support to your child regardless of how you are feeling at the time.
Ensure that your child gets the pain relief he/she needs and deserves by informing your child’s medical team of any changes in your child, even subtle ones, along with more typical signs of discomfort and pain.
Educate yourself on the subject of pain management. Arthritis Today offers many articles on the subject, including "Caitlin Ryan's Top 10 Pain Fighting Tips," which highlights advice from an eleven-year-old JA patient well-versed in pain management. Another is “Five Steps to Pain Relief.” is available in our Arthritis Today magazine, along with many other articles on the subject of pain. For a directory of article possibilities, search the word “pain” on the Arthritis Today website.
The American Chronic Pain Association (ACPA) website provides more information about pain managment. It also offers a selection of literature on the topic of pain, including a family manual that addresses challenges often resulting when someone you love is enduring chronic pain.