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Chronic Pain Clinic

The Pediatric Chronic Pain Program is an outpatient clinic at McMaster Children’s Hospital.

We see children and teenagers who have complex or persistent pain. We work with young people when their pain is getting in the way of their ability to participate in meaningful activities such as school, sports, or spending time with family and friends. Our program focuses on teaching youth skills and providing support, so that they can get back to the activities that are important to them.

We support children and youth when:

• They are experiencing pain that has lasted longer than 3 months. Exception: suspicion for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS).
• Usual medications and treatments have not been helpful.
• Pain is having an impact on school, relationships, sleep, activities, and/or emotional well-being.
• They are interested in learning new skills to better manage pain.

There are many different types of chronic pain conditions in children and adolescents. Common pain conditions we see include:

• Chronic headaches
• Chronic abdominal pain
• Chronic musculoskeletal pain
• Chronic widespread pain
• Chronic pain as a result of another medical condition (e.g. Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, Inflammatory Bowel Disease)
• Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)
• Neuropathic pain
• Post surgical pain

For more information, visit the Pediatric Chronic Pain page for patients and families.

Care We Provide

Chronic pain is complex. The best treatment uses a combination of approaches.

Following an intake assessment, patients may be offered some of the following  services as part of an individualized treatment plan:

• Education about pain
• Assessment of mental health concerns
• Physiotherapy
• Occupational therapy
• Individual counselling
• Group treatment
• Parent/caregiver group
• School collaboration
• Medication management
• Referral to intensive pain rehabilitation programs (inpatient and day patient)
• Referral to community providers

Involvement in the program is time limited. Typically, youth attend clinic appointments every week or every other week for the first 1-2 months. After that, the appointments become more spread out so patients can apply the skills they have learned.

Resources

The following websites have helpful information for youth with chronic pain and their families:

• https://www.mycarepath.ca/
• https://www.aboutkidshealth.ca/pain?topic=chronicpain
• https://www.aci.health.nsw.gov.au/chronic-pain/painbytes

We have also found the following books to be helpful for parents and caregivers of youth with chronic pain:

  • When Your Child Hurts: Effective Strategies to Increase Comfort, Reduce Stress, and Break the Cycle of Chronic Pain. By Rachael Coakley
  • Managing Your Child’s Chronic Pain. By Tonya Palermo and Emily Law

Referral Process

Patients can contact the clinic at 905-521-2100 ext. 73049 to book follow up appointments with our business clerk. New patients will be contacted by phone and mailed a letter with date and time of their first appointment.

Referral Form – Pediatric Chronic Pain (Children’s)