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Managing  Pediatric  Pain:  One  plan  does  not  fit  all

Managing Pediatric Pain: One plan does not fit all

Pain occurs when the body develops feelings of hurt or intense discomfort. It is a way of sending a message about the occurrence of an injury to the brain. Managing pediatric pain or any other involves blocking of these messages or reduces the effect on the mind.

Pain management is essential because failure to take action makes the body to release some chemicals that might delay healing from the cause of the hurt such as surgery, injury or broken bones. Parents, pediatric nurses, and doctors should work together to determine and follow up with the best plans for controlling pain.

The best plan depends on the child, cause, and level of as one method does not fit everyone.

Pharmacological method of managing pediatric pain

1.Pain medications

Some of the pain medications are available over the counter while other others require a prescription by a doctor. Opioids are the category of pain-relieving medicine that requires a prescription by a physician and is not on sale over the counter. An opioid is a narcotic pain reliever containing natural synthetic or semi-synthetic opiates for some types. An opioid is often for treating acute pain such as that occurs for a short term after surgery. Children who are not 12 years old yet should not take Tramadol or codeine for pain or a cough. Teenagers who are under 18 should avoid Tramadol after a tonsil or adenoids removing surgery.

Acetaminophen (Tylenol) pain-relieving medicine is available over the counter although doctors also recommend some of OTC medications. Doctors might also recommend OTC or prescription strength NSAIDs like ibuprofen. Aspirin is not safe in children and teenagers who are below 19 years unless it is on instruction by a doctor. Aspirin at this age can cause Reye’s syndrome if a patient takes it during or after fever –causing or viral illness.

2.Patient-controlled analgesia (PCA)

Children at the age of 4-6 years can take PCA with the help of a nurse or parent. Children of six or more years can use a PCA pump to take medicine without help but might require supervision in the first days.


These are drugs that treat pain and emotional conditions by adjusting levels of natural chemicals (neurotransmitters) in the brain. These medications might increase the availability of bodily signals to promote relaxation and well-being. Antidepressants help to manage pediatric pain in instances of chronic pain conditions that do not entirely respond to usual treatments.

4.Epidural Analgesia

Epidural analgesia is a pain medication that a doctor injects into the epidural space of spinal cord. Doctors usually perform it around significant surgeries such as spinal, abdominal or low extremity surgeries to control postoperative pain.

Some of these above medications are similar to those that adults take to manage pain, but the dose for pediatric administering is smaller to match the patient’s weight. Adhering to the dosing prescription by a pediatrician is essential.

Managing Pediatric Pain with Non-Pharmacological Therapies

Various therapies can help in addition to medical help to decrease pain in a child. The primary healthcare provider will participate in choosing the treatments that suit the infant. Each therapy might suit children of specific age groups.

The many therapies that can help to manage pain are:

Ice: Applying ice on a painful body part reduces pain, swelling and might prevent tissue damage. The method of application involves placing an ice pack or crushed ice set in a plastic bag before covering it with a towel and putting it on the painful section for 15 -20 minutes. A physician might recommend placement for a longer time.

Heat: Heat helps to decrease pain together with muscle spasms. It works when someone applies heat to the painful area for 20-30 minutes every two hours for the days that a healthcare provider directs.

Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS): TENS is a pocket-sized portable device that uses battery power which relieves pain by emitting mild and safe electrical signals that help in controlling pain. It attaches on the child’s skin after placement over the area of pain.

Massage therapy: Massage helps to relax the muscles of a child and decrease pain.

Physical therapy: exercising decreases pain by improving movement and strength.

Relaxation exercises and distraction of attention to other things other than pain help in managing pediatric pain if it is not severe. Pharmacological and non-pharmacological methods complement each other in instances of chronic pain.