An estimated 15% of children are affected by some form of chronic pain, often arising from injury or long-term illness. Combinations of medical, physical and psychological treatments have proved effective in treating children with chronic pain, in both inpatient and outpatient settings.
Researchers supported by the Child Development and Behavior Branch recently compared two similar multidisciplinary treatment programs at the same institution—one an inpatient program and one an outpatient version—to assess which program had the stronger impact on the children’s functioning and pain management.
The scientists found that both groups of children showed improvements in functional disability, decreased fear of pain, and improved pain management. However, children who participated in the inpatient program experienced significantly greater improvements overall, especially in functional disability (PMID: 23104827).