Santa Barbara
61° F
Santa Maria
56° F
Partly Cloudy
Partly Cloudy
San Luis Obispo
56° F
Mostly Cloudy
Mostly Cloudy
58° F

How to manage teen's chronic pain

Published On: Jul 02 2013 09:49:33 AM CDT
Updated On: Jul 17 2013 09:49:24 AM CDT
Knee pain

iStock / KenTannenbaum

By Mayo Clinic News Network

As the result of a sports injury, my 16-year-old daughter has chronic pain that has lasted for more than a year. It is really taking a toll on her. The pain makes it hard for her to go to school and to do the activities she enjoys. Medication doesn’t make much difference. What can we do? Is there a chance the pain will go away with time?

Your daughter’s pain may fade over time. While she has pain, though, it is important for her to find ways to manage it. A cure may not be possible, but there are many strategies that can help her get back into life.

Pain usually comes from illness, injury or surgery, and it goes away as our bodies heal. This type of pain is called acute pain. Chronic pain is different. It is generally defined as daily pain that lasts more than three months. Chronic pain may continue after an injury or illness has passed. It may come from a medical condition that is hard to treat. Sometimes chronic pain may not have any clear source.

Many children and teens have chronic pain. In fact, the condition is more common in children than adults. As in your daughter’s situation, many of them are not able to go to school regularly, and they are not living the lives they want to live.

It may seem to make sense that staying home to rest will ease pain. However, withdrawing from school and other activities can actually make chronic pain worse. Being isolated may bring on feelings of loneliness and sadness. Staying home can contribute to irregular sleep, lack of routine and low activity. All of these can increase pain. Going to school can get your daughter back into a daily routine. It may help her reconnect with friends. School can give her something to focus on other than the pain.

In addition to getting back to school, there are a variety of other steps your daughter can take to ease pain. Relaxation techniques, such as meditation and deep breathing, can be effective. Many people also find yoga to be a helpful way to reduce chronic pain.

Although the thought of exercising may seem impossible to someone dealing with chronic pain, regular activity can be a useful way of managing the pain. Exercise causes the body to release natural painkilling chemicals, called endorphins, which can take the edge off pain. Exercise also strengthens muscles, increases flexibility and lowers stress hormones.

Eating well can make a difference, too. A healthy diet can increase your daughter’s energy and help her stay at a healthy weight. That aids in pain management since shedding extra pounds can lower stress on muscles and joints and increase flexibility. Encourage her to drink plenty of fluids, too. Being dehydrated can make pain worse. Drinking eight or nine glasses of non-caffeinated beverages or water each day is a good goal.

You mention that medication does not decrease your daughter’s pain significantly. That is common. Medications used for acute pain, such as narcotics, usually don’t help chronic pain. Medications can play a role in managing chronic pain. But many people who have chronic pain don’t get much relief with medication alone. For most people, the lifestyle choices they make and what they do each day does more to lower chronic pain than medication.

For guidance putting these and other pain management steps into practice, consider a pain rehabilitation program for your daughter. Talk to her health care provider about programs that may be available in your area. Many medical centers offer pain programs specifically for children and teens. The medical professionals who work in pain rehabilitation are trained to help people with chronic pain learn techniques to manage pain and return to normal life. Barbara Bruce, Ph.D., L.P., and Tracy Harrison, M.D., Pain Rehabilitation Center, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.



The views expressed are not those of this company or its affiliated companies. Please note by clicking on "Post" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms Of Service and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. 
blog comments powered by Disqus
  • fatal_accident_investigation

    Extensive Investigation into Triple Fatal Accident

    An extensive investigation is underway to determine the cause of death in a triple fatal rollover accident Monday morning in Santa Barbara.

  • Santa Barbara County Sheriff s candidates forum

    Santa Barbara County Sheriff Candidates Face-Off

    Santa Barbara County Sheriff candidates squared-off at a candidates forum Wednesday night.

  • State Street Benches Gone

    Benches Removed in Two Block Area of Downtown Santa Barbara

    Benches have been removed in a two block area of State Street between Haley and Ortega Streets in downtown Santa Barbara.  The city says they are being cleaned and repaired.

  • Ordinary Citizens Receive Awards for Acts of Heroism

    Ordinary Citizens Receive Awards For Acts of Heroism

    The Santa Barbara Police Department recognized some ordinary citizens doing extraordinary things. An awards ceremony was held Wednesday to recognize the acts of heroism.

    Each year officers nominate those in our community who they feel are deserving of the "Extra Step Awards" These awards recognize acts of heroism that include saving lives and aiding officers in fighting crime.

    A total of 8 people received the prestigious annual award sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Santa Barbara. They include:

    Daniel Green
    Mr. Green, Head of Security Operations at the Wildcat Lounge, assisted SBPD officers on multiple occasions in 2013 dealing with combative subjects and with alcohol-related, narcotics, and DUI investigations.  He was nominated by Officer Ethan Ragsdale.

    Thomas Eck
    Mr. Eck, the Santa Barbara High School Track Coach, prevented a felony fugitive from stealing a van and potentially driving through a crowd of student athletes and spectators leaving a track meet at Santa Barbara City College.  He was nominated by Officer Carl Kamin.

    William Barbaree & Nicholas McGilvray
    Mr. Barbaree and Mr. McGilvray performed lifesaving first aid, prior to the arrival of emergency personnel, to James Atwood and Ellen Atwood, two motorcyclists that had been struck by a drunk driver.  They were nominated by Officer Heather Clark.

    Devin Shaw, Eva Pagaling & Steffanie Colgate
    Mr. Shaw, Ms. Pagaling, and Ms. Colgate witnessed the hit-and-run collision that resulted in the death of Mallory Dies.  They pursued the suspect, tried to persuade him to return to the scene of the collision, called 9-1-1, and directed officers to the suspect's location resulting in his apprehension.  They were nominated by Officer Jaycee Hunter.

    Scott Houston
    Mr. Houston came to the aid of an officer struggling in the street with a bank robbery suspect, helping to detain the suspect until additional officers arrived on-scene.  He was nominated by Officer Richard Washington.

  • Triple Fatal Auto Accident on Highway

    3 Dead In Early Morning Accident, Driver Arrested For DUI

    The 101 southbound through Santa Barbara reopened just before 12:30 Monday afternoon as authorities investigate what they say was a deadly two car DUI accident.

  • Grover Beach Grand Theft

    Grover Beach Grand Theft

    Surveillance video shows man walk up to front door of home, and take two packages that did not belong to him.

  • sbhs_robotics_computer_science_1

    School Board Approves Computer Science Academy

    A new academy at Santa Barbara High School will give students a leg up on a high-tech career.

  • Roger Aceves Runs for Santa Barbara County Supervisor Seat

    Goleta Mayor Roger Aceves is running for Santa Barbara County Supervisor.

  • Lupita Nyong'o

    REUTERS/Danny Moloshok

    People's 'World's Most Beautiful' list 2014

    People magazine recently named Lupita Nyong'o its "World's Most Beautiful" for 2014. See which other ladies earned a coveted spot on the annual list.

  • Who's the Boss blurb image

    Sony Pictures Television

    Where are 'Who's the Boss?' stars now?

    With Tony Danza marking his 63rd birthday on Monday, join us for a look at what he and the rest of the cast of "Who's the Boss?" are up to today.