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Acute and Chronic Pain

Pain Medicine

Pain medicine doctors at Phoenix Children’s integrate inpatient and outpatient therapies. Teams work across medical specialties to provide wide-ranging services. These range from specialty clinics for challenging conditions to support groups for children and families.

Acute Pain Therapies

Whether it’s the acute post-surgery pain, traumatic accidental injuries or unexpected stabs of undiagnosed pain, we can help. Acute pain therapies at Phoenix Children’s include:

  • Patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) – PCA therapy lets kids get pain relief as needed by pushing a button. Using a hand-held device and pump, a child can control limited pain-medicine delivery as prescribed by Phoenix Children’s acute pain management team. 
  • Epidural pain control – Doctors insert a tiny catheter (flexible tube) into the epidural space around the spinal cord. This delivers a local anesthetic to provide continuous pain control after surgery or traumatic accidental injury.
  • Peripheral nerve block – Phoenix Children’s doctors inject or insert tiny catheters near a nerve or group of nerves. They deliver local anesthetics to block pain signals from that part of the body caused by surgery or accidental trauma.
  • Continuous infusions – Our doctors can use non-opioid medications administered by continuous infusion as part of an acute or acute-on-chronic pain management strategy. 
  • Multimodal analgesia – This individualized approach combines two or more analgesic medications with other forms of pain relief, such as PCA, epidural, peripheral nerve block and infusion. Doctors combine select actions of specific medications to maximize their effectiveness, limit side effects, and avoid or minimize the need for narcotics.
  • Pain psychology – Most children can learn and optimize coping strategies to manage acute pain. When indicated, our team will consult with pain psychology experts at Phoenix Children’s to find ways to help your child cope with pain.
  • Complementary alternative strategies – As part of a holistic approach, our providers can offer alternative acute pain management strategies. Options include Reiki, Kinesio taping, acupuncture, music therapy, child life services and pet therapy.

Chronic Pain Therapies

To help kids cope with chronic pain, we focus on therapies that manage pain, while improving the ability to function and enjoy a better quality of life. Phoenix Children’s offers these and other chronic pain therapies and clinical services:

Outpatient Pain Medicine

Chronic Pain Multidisciplinary Clinic

Phoenix Children’s provides specialized services through our comprehensive, multispecialty chronic pain clinic for children and adolescents. Doctors and specialists provide extensive evaluation and develop a treatment plan for your child, including close follow-up care. Our care team includes:

  • Pain medicine doctors
  • Psychologists
  • Advanced practice nurses
  • Physical therapists
  • Nurse coordinator

Weekly Rehabilitation and Pain Program (WRAPP) Clinic

The WRAPP clinic offers weekly rehabilitation services for adolescents who need high-level therapies for chronic pain. Studies show these services can:

  • Improve and restore function
  • Reduce pain
  • Improve quality of life through multispecialty care

Children strengthen coping skills to manage chronic pain and other stressors, while living at home and attending school. Children participate for an afternoon a week for eight weeks. The three-hour program involves a weekly meeting with a doctor or nurse practitioner, pain psychologist and physical therapist.

Services include patient and family education, re-evaluating and adjusting the medical plan, physical therapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) from our pain psychologist. Families may choose additional complementary and alternative medicine therapies.

Complementary and Alternative Medicine

At Phoenix Children’s, we’re continually offering more complementary alternative therapies as part of our clinic’s approach to care. We currently offer acupuncture, Kinesio taping and Reiki, with plans underway for additional services.

Outpatient Pain Psychology Therapy

Our pain psychologists provide outpatient therapies for children, adolescents, young adults and families coping with chronic pain. This includes the pain of chronic illness, injuries and somatic symptom disorders.

We help children diagnosed with these and other conditions:

  • Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS)
  • Amplified musculoskeletal pain syndrome
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Abdominal pain
  • Cancer
  • Sports injuries

Teen Chronic Pain Group

This group supports teen patients at Phoenix Children’s. During 12 weekly sessions, specialists review pain management strategies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy. Teens learn relaxation, problem-solving, goal-setting and communication skills.

Adolescent Addiction Medicine and Psychiatry

Some children require psychiatric evaluation and intervention. An effective, holistic approach requires managing children’s sensory, cognitive and emotional states. Our board-certified child psychiatrist has advanced training and experience in child and adolescent psychiatry, including addiction care. They understand the neuropsychiatric aspects of pain, and related or complicating conditions. Our specialists assist with:

  • Understanding cognition and emotion  
  • Managing conditions such as depression, anxiety, impulsivity and mood disorders 
  • Managing medication withdrawal and related suffering

Outpatient Interventional Pain Medicine

Doctors can perform certain minimally invasive diagnostic and surgical procedures on an outpatient basis. At Phoenix Children’s outpatient and hospital locations, interventional medicine doctors use safe, advanced imaging technology to guide care. Therapies may include:

  • Botox or similar therapies
  • Injections to joints, muscles and related tissues
  • Medications to block headaches
  • Peripheral nerve blocks
  • Spine treatments 
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