Pediatric Chronic Pain

  • Elizabeth BettiniEmail author
  • David M. Steinhorn


Chronic pain is a symptom that can have long-term health implications as well as a negative impact on function and quality of life. Although pain is often a symptom of a disease or injury, chronic pain is a disease process of its own related to chemical adaptations and neuroplasticity. Chronic pain in children can have undesirable long-term consequences related to the impact that unrelenting pain may have on the social and cognitive development of a child. Research in chronic pain should take a theory-driven approach (Huget et al. 2011). The biopsychosocial model has been utilized often in the study of chronic pain in both children and adults. A newer theory, the theory of unpleasant symptoms, can also be used in studying chronic pain as it considers the impact that symptoms have on function, an important aspect of the persistence of pain. An interdisciplinary approach is considered the standard of care in pediatric chronic pain management (Hechler et al. 2015). Along with pharmacologic, physiological, and psychological therapies, integrative medicine techniques have been found useful in reducing pain and increasing function in children that suffer from chronic pain.


Chronic pain The biopsychosocial model The theory of unpleasant symptoms Central sensitization Neuroplasticity 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Children’s National Medical CenterWashington, DCUSA

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