Doctors introduce new treatments for children with chronic pain

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Chronic pain is no longer an adult problem; one of four children also suffer from it.

Symptoms include stomachaches and headaches – as well as back, neck and muscle pain.

Sophie Harry, 9, suffered from chronic pain caused by severe stomachaches that sometimes kept her out of school.

“It felt like pressure on my stomach all the time,” Harry said.

Sophie’s mother, Gretchen, was concerned about her daughter’s health.

“It was stressful because she lost like eight pounds in a month,” Gretchen Harry said. “Nobody seemed to be able to put their finger on it.”

Pediatric Pain Director Dr. Caitlin Neri said there could be several causes.

“There are medical, physical and psychological behavioral and social factors that contribute to the development of chronic pain in children,” Neri said.

Since Sophie’s stomachaches are partly attributed to stress, she participates in a pediatric pain clinic, a multi-disciplinary approach involving several specialists working together to help children manage their pain.

Specialists use techniques such as acupuncture, relaxation hypnosis, yoga and aromatherapy. Medicine is only used when necessary.

“It’s not any one thing,” Neri said. “I can’t just fix this with one pill or any sort of magic wand. It’s hard work and you have to engage in all these things in order to be successful.”

While studies have been conducted on this approach, many doctors agree more studies need to be done. If your child is complaining about chronic pain, take them to a medical professional.

Reporter:Therese O'Shea