Taking care of a child with chronic pain isn’t easy. Living with pain is challenging as an adult and even tougher when you are young, and you don’t quite understand why you are in pain.
For very small children, it can even be hard to work out what is causing their pain in the first place. If you feel your child is in chronic pain you should begin by speaking to your physician.
The Medical Approach
It is not a failure of parenting to seek help from the medical system. That’s what doctors are for – to help when we are in need. You should never be shy about taking a child to see a doctor and while natural remedies for pain are good; we think they ought to be combined with clinical remedies when they are available.
Your doctor should:
- Take a detailed pain history where possible. They need to know where the pain is, how long it lasts and how it feels as best as you and your child can tell them.
- Understand the impact of the pain. How is it affecting sleep, emotions, relationships, etc?
- Conduct an examination of the area and attempt to diagnose the cause or call for additional tests or specialist consultancy to perform he diagnosis.
- Use an age-appropriate tool to help work out how severe the pain is.
- Ask about any treatments you have tried for your child’s pain already – this should include natural pain relief as well as any medicine you have used.
Natural Remedies For Children’s Pain
While you may be able to use many natural remedies for child pain there are a couple that are specific to children and not just for general use:
- Sugar is a commonly effective remedy for pain in children up to the age of 12 months. In particular, sucrose has been shown to be highly effective.
- Breast milk has also been demonstrated to reduce pain perception in neo-natal children particularly when combined with sugar.
Pharmaceutical Options For Children’s Pain
In general, doctors prefer not to prescribe medication to children unless they really need it. The medications used to treat children’s pain – in order from least severe to most are as follows:
- Paracetamol (usually in a sugar-free solution)
- Paracetamol and Ibuprofen (Ibuprofen should not be given to children under the age of 3 months)
- Opioids (the last resort)
Paracetamol must be given to children carefully. Doses for little ones are far more specific than for adults and you must get your doctor’s guidance on what to use and what the maximum doses are.
Ibuprofen is better than aspirin as an anti-inflammatory for children and while there are natural anti-inflammatories we recommend using them with ibuprofen and not as a replacement. Again doses for children are strictly controlled and your physician should clearly explain how much should be used and when.
Opioids are a big step and are used only when pain is intolerable through any other kind of pain management. A child taking opioids should only be doing so under the strict eye of a physician as their regime may need constant monitoring and adjustment.
Taking care of a child with constant pain is a big challenge but it is a challenge you can meet if you get the right advice from a physician and you use natural pain remedies in conjunction with those prescribed by your doctor.