Pain Medicine

Programs and Services

Inpatient Pain Service

The Inpatient Pain Service is a care team comprised of 7 physicians, a Pediatric Anesthesia fellow,  an advanced practice nurse, and a nursing coordinator that specializes in the treatment of children experiencing pain at Texas Children's Hospital.  One of the core functions of their service is the formulation of perioperative pain plans for children undergoing surgery, including the use of pain medicines, regional anesthesia procedures and multidisciplinary care team consultations to help alleviate pain associated with surgery and facilitate rehabilitation and recovery.  Additionally, the Inpatient Pain Service offers consultation on inpatient children who are experiencing pain or pain-related issues and might benefit from our services.

Outpatient Pain Clinic

Chronic pain can be a complex and frustrating problem that affects many different areas of life and is often best treated by clinicians from multiple areas of expertise. To provide this comprehensive care, Texas Children's Hospital Pain Medicine Clinic offers a multidisciplinary clinic approach, with pain medicine, pain psychology, and physical therapy working jointly with patients and families to develop personalized treatment programs.

Pediatric Pain Medicine

Along with other supports, pharmacological intervention for pain is managed by our pediatric pain physicians. Physicians gather a comprehensive pain history, perform thorough physical examinations, and alongside the rest of the pain medicine team, develop individualized management plans that may include medications, medical acupuncture, and/or medical procedures.

Pediatric Pain Psychology and Behavioral Health

Pain is a sensation that is both physical and psychological, so stress, thoughts, and feelings are all important factors in pain care. Pediatric pain psychology and behavioral health clinicians can be instrumental in helping patients and caregivers learn strategies to help relieve pain.

Techniques that pediatric pain psychologists teach and practice with patients:

  • Pain coping strategies
  • Stress management
  • Biofeedback training
  • Relaxation training
  • Medical self-hypnosis
  • School coordination, accommodations, and reintegration

Additionally, patients and families can work with pediatric pain psychologists to help with the disabilities that often co-occur, such as physical activation, social difficulties, and emotional difficulties.

Physical Therapy

Chronic pain can affect all aspects of life including level of physical activity and function. The physical therapist provides education on ways manage pain levels and get moving again. During the initial pain clinic visit, the physical therapist will perform an evaluation and design an individualized treatment plan to help manage the pain condition and achieve long term goals. Physical therapy treatment plans might include: strengthening and flexibility exercises; manual therapy in order to improve mobility of your joints or muscle; desensitization techniques; and postural and body mechanics instruction.

Medical acupuncture

Acupuncture is an ancient medical practice with many broad applications in pediatric pain medicine. Medical acupuncture is performed by a doctor trained in pediatric pain medicine who has also trained and obtained certification in acupuncture. Acupuncture can be used as a sole therapy or in combination with traditional western medicine to decrease stress, promote healing and treat certain pain conditions like headaches, joint pain, back pain, neck pain, abdominal pain, etc.  An acupuncture treatment involves inserting acupuncture needles into special points on the body.  The number of needles used depend on the treatment.  Acupuncture treatment can last anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes long. Needles can be heated with moxabustion or electrically stimulated to further stimulate the central nervous system to release chemicals and hormones that are involved in pain pathways. There is no age restriction to receive acupuncture and there are minimal side effects to treatment.

Biofeedback services

Biofeedback is an intervention technique that can be used to help improve health, using signals like heart rate or temperature from the body. Learning to develop more control over these signals can help with pain coping. Biofeedback is usually taught by and practiced with a trained clinician, such as a pain psychologist or occupational therapist. A biofeedback participant is connected to sensors that convert bodily signals into sounds or images on a computer screen, which allow the participant to see how her body is working. A biofeedback therapist will coach the participant on how to use these signals to better control physiological responses that may contribute to pain.