Treatments We Offer
We offer a full range of treatments for acute pain (goes away in less than three months) and chronic pain (persists longer than three months). Our Pain Medicine experts help children and teens manage pain, whatever its symptoms or causes.
Your child or teen’s care may include inpatient or outpatient treatments. Our Pain Medicine team works with other doctors from a variety of specialties to guide care based on individual conditions and changing treatment goals.
Interventional Pain Management
Specialized services at Phoenix Children’s include many image-guided, minimally invasive surgical procedures to help kids manage acute or chronic pain. Guided by ultrasound, doctors can deliver nerve-blocking and/or pain medicine therapies through a catheter (tube), implanted pump or other minimally invasive surgical interventions. These treatments can be done in the inpatient or outpatient setting.
Interventional pain management approaches can help children manage pain effectively with less time away from school and other day-to-day activities.
Available treatments include:
- Botox – This injectable medical therapy can dull or prevent chronic migraines by blocking neurotransmitters, the chemical messengers that transmit pain signals – typically where the nerves and muscles meet.
- Bursal, intra-articular and trigger-point injections – Physicians can inject muscle relaxants, anti-inflammatory drugs or other pain-relieving medications to targeted areas. These can include joints (intra-articular), bursa (fluid-filled sac), muscles and tendons, or other areas of pain.
- Headache blocks – Specialists inject pain-relieving medicine around nerves to block pain in certain types of treatment-resistant headaches.
- Epidural pain control and spinal procedures – Doctors insert a tiny catheter (flexible tube) into the epidural space, which is the space around the spinal nerves. Doctors can deliver pain medication through the catheter to provide continuous pain relief after a surgery or a traumatic accidental injury.
- Peripheral nerve blocks – Phoenix Children’s doctors insert tiny catheters near a nerve or group of peripheral nerves (distal or distant from the center the body). Doctors deliver pain-numbing medication through the catheters. This blocks pain signals from the part of the body injured by surgery or accidental trauma.
Our pediatric anesthesiologists specialize in managing acute pain related to injury, illness or surgery and other procedures. While infants, children or adolescents are admitted to the hospital, an anesthesiologist is involved in managing the pain and care of the child.
Treatment options include:
- Patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) – PCA therapy lets kids get pain relief as needed by pushing a button. Using a hand-held device and a pump, a child can control time-limited and dose-limited pain-medicine delivery as prescribed by Phoenix Children’s acute pain management team.
- Epidural pain control and spinal procedures – Doctors insert a tiny catheter (flexible tube) into the epidural space, which is the space around the spinal nerves. Doctors can deliver pain medication through the implant to provide continuous pain relief after a surgery or a traumatic accidental injury.
- Peripheral nerve blocks – Phoenix Children’s doctors insert tiny catheters near a nerve or group of peripheral (remote/distal) nerves. Doctors deliver pain-numbing medication through the catheters. This blocks pain signals from the part of the body injured by surgery or accidental trauma.
- Intravenous (IV) infusions – IV therapy allows doctors to deliver precisely controlled amounts of pain medication directly into your bloodstream. The medicine goes through a tube inserted into a vein in the hand, arm, neck or other part of the body.
- Multimodal analgesia medication – For severe pain, doctors may combine medicines that have different purposes and ways of working. These combinations can maximize each medication’s effectiveness and limit side effects. This approach can also avoid the need for stronger, potentially addictive pain medicines such as morphine. Multimodal medication combines two or more analgesic (pain relief) medications with other methods of pain management such as a PCA (self-delivered) pump, epidural (lower spine) delivery, peripheral (remote/distal) nerve blocks and IV infusion.
Our Pain Medicine services also include medication management. Every day, our team checks in on your child or teen. The team may adjust the amount of medication and how it is delivered to ensure safe and effective pain management for each child under their care.
In addition to interventional pain management, we also offer these and other advanced services on an outpatient basis. Doctors may perform outpatient procedures ranging from trigger point injections to minimally invasive surgically implanted devices. As a result, children and families can get effective pain management care with less time away from home, school and play.
We also offer these and other outpatient services on Phoenix Children’s Thomas Campus and at clinics in surrounding communities:
- Alternative therapies – Our holistic approach to pain management can include alternative strategies such as:
- Acupuncture – Practitioners treat abdominal pain, back pain, headaches and other types of pain by stimulating nerve-rich areas of the skin with tiny needles.
- Kinesio taping – This is a type of binding using sports tape that supports muscles while allowing the ability to move.
Other Ways to Prevent or Manage Pain
Our specialists ease pain and address related issues that can contribute to pain or make it harder for kids to manage their pain. Treatment plans may include other types of therapies, support and services such as:
- Child Life Services – Our Child Life specialists offer interactive, educational and motivational therapies, services and healing support for kids receiving care at Phoenix Children’s.
- Music therapy and therapeutic arts – Music and the arts can help calm fears and relax, cheer or motivate kids during hospital stays.
- Pain psychology and support – Most children can learn coping strategies to manage their acute and chronic pain. Our pediatric psychologists evaluate and treat stress, anxiety, depression or other factors that can result from or cause pain.
- Pain Medicine Rehabilitation Program – Our multispecialty teams offer intensive inpatient pain rehabilitation services and an outpatient semi-intensive Weekly Rehabilitation and Pain Program (WRAPP).