When your child suffers from pain that interferes with day-to-day activities, it can be tough. Persistent, chronic pain affects your child’s quality of life. We know it affects you, too.
Research shows about 30% of children and adolescents between the ages of 10 and 18 experience pain that lasts three months or longer. It can prevent your child from attending school, playing sports and simply enjoying life.
Mary Free Bed’s multidisciplinary team of pain rehabilitation specialists understands the complexities of chronic pain, including the physical and emotional toll it can take. We’ll work with you and your child on a personalized plan that incorporates a variety of innovative treatments to address the pain.
We know how to help kids be kids.
Unlike acute pain, which typically occurs with an injury, illness or medical procedure, chronic pain is more complex and often has debilitating effects.
It’s persistent and recurrent. And it doesn’t always have a physical source. Sometimes it’s associated with a long-term illness or condition, or it continues after an injury has healed. Changes to the nervous system also may cause persistent pain. And sometimes the cause isn’t clear.
Common types of chronic pain include:
We treat children and adolescents up to 19 years of age who have varying degrees of chronic pain and other conditions.
We can help your child manage:
We treat patients with a variety of medical diagnoses, pain locations and symptoms, such as:
Frequently associated problems include:
Our primary goal is improving the physical and emotional wellbeing of your child.
We want to help them attend and succeed in school, and participate in sports or other recreational activities. We’ll work together to:
Our goal isn’t to take your child’s pain away. While we’d love to, it’s not always possible. However, we can often help decrease your child’s pain, or at least perception of it. And sometimes chronic pain conditions completely resolve on their own.
Our focus is on helping your child return to normal activities – attending school, hanging out with friends and taking part in sports and other activities that bring joy.
We’ll assess potential causes for your child’s pain, work with both of you to develop goals and decide the best course of treatment to reach them.
If all physical possibilities are ruled out, we’ll look at how your child perceives the pain and teach ways to manage it. As functioning, coping skills and confidence improve, pain and distress often decrease or go away.
We use a mind-and-body rehabilitation approach that includes physical conditioning, body mechanics training and pain management skills. Our approach is challenging but supportive:
We’ll modify our program to meet your child’s needs, but it will typically consist of:
Your child’s physiatrist (a doctor who specializes in rehabilitation medicine) will perform an examination and assess your child’s health history. The doctor will help you understand your child’s pain and other symptoms. You’ll work collaboratively with your child’s physician to reduce or eliminate medications proven to be ineffective.
Physical and emotional health are closely linked, and psychology plays a significant role in managing chronic pain management. Our pain psychologist employs a personalized approach that may include:
Our physical therapists will help you understand the difference between acute and chronic pain. They know when to encourage your child to do more and when to recommend that you pace your child’s activity. You’ll learn stretching techniques, posture corrections and other ways to manage your child’s pain and improve function by moving.
Your child will learn proper posturing and body mechanics needed for school, and how to protect joints, conserve energy and pace activities for pain management. A structured movement program will help your child re-engage in interests and hobbies.
We closely monitor your child’s progress using a variety of outcome measures to assess the program’s success.
Data shows patients who participated in the program reported:
We understand the complexities of pain. Our clinicians have specialized training and extensive experience to put your child on the path to a full and productive life.
We can help safely reduce or eliminate your child’s reliance on medication and re-engage in things that are meaningful.
Your child will be cared for by doctors who specialize in the treatment of physical and cognitive issues and are experts on pediatric chronic pain disorders.
Douglas Henry, M.D.
Victoria Dufour, D.O.
Krissa Kirby, Psy.D.
Depending on your child’s needs, the team also may include:
Each week, our team meets to discuss your child’s progress and make any necessary adjustments to the care plan. Your child’s wellness is our focus.
The Mary Free Bed Kids Chronic Pain Program was established by The Steve and Amy Van Andel Foundation.