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What's the goal of pain management for a child?

Successful pain management may not always take away all of your child's pain. The goal of pain management is to reduce the pain enough that your child can rest and can do the activities that will help him recover. To help make the best plan for your child's care, your child's healthcare providers will set a "pain management goal."

A pain management goal has three parts:
  1. Your child's comfort. Your child needs to have the things that normally make him comfortable. These can include staying warm and not throwing up. They also include your child's unique ways of comforting himself, such as the ability to suck his thumb or a binky.
  2. Your child's ability to function. There are certain things your child needs to be able to do in order to get better. These can include walking, crawling, coughing, breathing deeply, or eating or sleeping better.
  3. Your child's current pain score. Healthcare providers will use one of the methods to assess your child's level of pain. At this level of pain, is your child able to do the things he needs to do to recover? For example, can he stop throwing up long enough to digest a meal? Can he walk and breathe deeply?
Given the above, what would allow your child to do what he needs to do to recover? Every child tolerates pain differently and is comforted by different things. Many children can do what they need to do with a pain rating of 2, 3, or 4. This is your child's pain management goal.

A pain management goal helps your child's healthcare providers know if the pain treatments are working well enough. If your child is not comfortable enough to do what he needs to do to recover, the doctor may change his pain treatment.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.