Natural Health News – It is annoying to see anyone in chronic pain, but it is especially painful when that person is a child.
In addition to suffering itself, chronic pain can have profound effects on a child’s quality of life, and physical, psychological and social consequences. Chronic pain can also affect a child’s parents and caregivers, causing feelings of helplessness and inadequacy.
Treatment of children with chronic pain can be complex, due to the vulnerability of children while they are growing and fear of causing long-term effects. To make matters worse, studies on therapeutic options for the treatment of pain in children is limited. What you need to know
“ Chronic pain – headaches, abdominal pain, back pain, musculoskeletal pain, scoliosis, leukemia, sports injuries and Crohn’s disease – is much more common in children and young adults than most of us realize.
“ There is evidence that acupuncture is helpful in relieving pain in adults, but studies on children are relatively rare.
“ This small study examined the effect of 8 sessions of individualized acupuncture on pain in children 7-20 years old and found that substantial reductions in pain, so as a significant improvement in quality of life and emotional health.
“Effective treatment of pain can be particularly difficult because it is subjective, but with children, it is increasingly difficult because a child may not be able to communicate effectively in terms of age and accurate recognition pain, “says Angela Johnson, MSTOM, MPH, Chinese medicine practitioner Medicine Program Comprehensive Cancer Rush.
Johnson led a recent study that found that acupuncture can be an additional safe and effective treatment for chronic pain in children integrative medicine. The study results were published in Alternative and Complementary Therapies .
“While acupuncture has been shown to reduce pain in adults, there is very little data on whether it is effective in children.” Johnson says. “This study examined the effect of acupuncture in children directly, rather than examining the data collected from adults. This approach is especially important because the pain experience of children in different ways than adults.”
Not stuck with the pain
Chronic pain is pain that lasts for weeks, months or even years, and is estimated to affect 20-35% of children under age 18 worldwide. Although sometimes criticized as “growing pains”, several conditions can cause chronic pain in children include headaches, abdominal pain, back pain, musculoskeletal pain, scoliosis, leukemia, sports injuries and Crohn’s disease.
Researchers studied 55 children and adolescents between 7 and 20 years old with chronic pain. Each child received up to eight individualized acupuncture treatments lasting 30 minutes.
All patients reported a significant and progressive decrease in all levels of pain during the treatment of eight sessions, with the strongest effects experienced during early treatment. Participants also reported substantial reductions in pain from baseline to the end of each session. In addition, patients reported significant reductions in health, emotional, social, and educational problems.
These findings were corroborated by observations of pain and behavior of their children from their parents.
“Acupuncture is an amazing drug for chronic pain alternative. This is especially true for patients who may have to deal with pain for most of her life, including those with sickle cell disease and sequelae of cancer. It also helps with anxiety and depression, “says Paul Kent, MD, co-author of the study and a pediatric oncologist at Rush.
This study contributes to the relatively scarce literature on the use of acupuncture in children, and supports the idea that acupuncture can be an effective strategy to control chronic pain.
“The results of this study suggest that acupuncture can have a profound positive impact on the health and welfare of children suffering from the disabling effects of chronic pain,” says Johnson.
She hopes to expand her research to larger groups of children in order to understand more about how acupuncture can help relieve chronic pain.