There are many ways to manage your child’s pain in and out of the hospital. Pain, although a natural part of life, has an effect on your child’s physical and emotional health. Learn the different ways the care team can help manage your child’s pain.

How the Care Team Can Help

Our role is to help you/your child by creating a personalized plan for you/r child’s pain relief. We do this in the following ways:

  • Evaluate your/your child’s pain and work with you to create a pain management plan for your/your child’s unique needs and preferences
  • Discuss all resources and options for pain management, including medications and nonmedication options
  • Teach you/your child different ways to calm the mind and body when pain arises

How You Can Help

  • Share your/your child’s thoughts, wants and needs in terms of managing pain and medical conditions. You/your child are important members of the care team.

Questions About Pain Management

Do medications have side effects?

Pain medications can have unwanted side effects. Side effects depend on why you/your child needs the medication and the dose. The care team can talk with you/your child about ways to cope with side effects.

Are prescription pain medications dangerous?

If taken correctly and under guidance from the care team, prescription pain medications (also called opioids) are not dangerous. When taking opioids, your/child might notice certain side effects, but they are not harmful. Side effects might include sleepiness, constipation, nausea or itchy skin.

All medications have risks. A risk of some opioids is addiction. If you/your child takes an opioid, the care team will use the smallest dose needed. If needed, they will also help you/your child safely stop using the opioid.

What else can I do help my/my child’s pain?

  • Comfort yourself/your child during challenging or fearful moments. Your/your child’s pain is likely to feel worse if you/they are frightened, worried or tired.
  • Be open and honest about what is happening, especially if something might hurt. The child life specialist can help explain things in words you/your child can understand. If patients feel that they have some control over their pain it is likely to make things easier.
  • Distract yourself/your child to help take your/their mind off pain. Do things you/they enjoy such as playing, reading, watching movies or blowing bubbles. The child life specialist can help find ways to distract yourself/your child.
  • Provide reassuring touches and gestures. This can include hugs, holding hands or gently stroking their arm. Ask family and friends to provide reassuring gestures for you as well.
  • Tell the care team about past hospital experiences that you/your child felt were uncomfortable or fearful. This can help the care team understand you/your child and adjust the treatment plan as needed.

Rev. 11/2018. Mass General for Children and Massachusetts General Hospital do not endorse any of the brands listed on this handout. This handout is intended to provide health information so that you can be better informed. It is not a substitute for medical advice and should not be used to treatment of any medical conditions.