There are many ways to manage your child’s pain while they are in the hospital. Learn different ways to manage your child’s pain that do not involve medication. All options are available for consult during your child’s hospital stay.

Would you like to learn more about these therapies or schedule a consult for your child? Ask the care team or Child Life Specialist for availability.

Pain Management Option


What It Can Help With

Who It Can Help Best

Acupuncture and Acupressure

Acupuncture involves placing small, thin needles into different points on the skin’s surface.

Acupressure is when a person uses their hands, elbows or other tools to apply pressure to different points on the body.

  • Ease pain and discomfort
  • Manage side effects of cancer treatments
  • Ease gastrointestinal (stomach and intestines) issues
  • Ease or manage stress and anxiety

Babies, children, teens and young adults of all ages.

Art Therapy

Using art and art projects to promote a positive mood and cope with stress.

  • Manage anxiety and stress during a hospital stay
  • Positive distraction during procedures or tests
  • Lower pain levels
  • Better participation in treatment

Babies over age 2, children, teens and young adults.

Child Life

Services provided by child life specialists are developmentally appropriate activities that include play, preparation and education to reduce fear, anxiety and pain.

  • Teach relaxation and distraction skills to lessen feelings of pain or anxiety
  • Self-expression
  • Encourage positive coping skills
  • Opportunities to lessen fears and uncertainties around a hospital stay, visit, test or procedure

Babies, children, teens and young adults of all ages.

Parents and families

Massage Therapy

Use of music to improve a person’s health and wellness outcomes. With a board-certified music therapist, music therapy can include singing, writing songs, listening to music or playing instruments to meet treatment goals.

  • Lower levels of anxiety, stress, pain or discomfort
  • Distraction during tests or procedures
  • Positive changes in mood
  • Active and positive participation in treatment

Babies, children, teens and young adults of all ages.

Occupational Therapy

Focuses on participating in meaningful activities to ease or manage pain. An occupational therapist can also help find activities to help ease or manage pain and meet different sensory, physical or emotional needs. They can also help find what causes pain and develop coping skills.

  • Chronic pain
  • Psychosomatic pain (physical pain brought on by emotional distress)
  • Physical pain
  • Learning coping or behavioral skills to manage short-term pain

Babies, children, teens and young adults of all ages.

Physical Therapy

Exercise to ease and manage acute (short-term) and chronic (long-term) pain. It can also include hot and cold therapy and massage (touch) therapy.

  • Pain management
  • Strengthen the bones and muscles

Babies, children, teens and young adults of all ages.

R ev. 1/2019. Reviewed by the MGfC Family Advisory Council. 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.