Designed and created by Guideline Central in participation with the World Health Organization
Management of Chronic Pain in Children
Patient Guideline Summary
Publication Date: December 1, 2020
Last Updated: March 2, 2023
This patient summary means to discuss key recommendations from the World Health Organization for the management of chronic pain in children.
- Chronic pain is pain that lasts over three months.
- There are multiple causes, but pain itself is best treated as a separate issue while addressing the root cause.
- This patient summary focuses on whole-person care of a child with long-standing pain.
- A thorough evaluation of your child includes not only medical issues but also social and psychological assessment in order to achieve the best overall quality of life possible.
- Your child’s treatment team will therefore include a wide variety of specialists in medicine, psychology, social circumstances, and probably more as each individual situation is examined.
- If the cause of the pain can be identified, every effort will be made to cure it.
- While that is being managed, several approaches to diminishing the pain will be used. These may include:
- Physical therapies
- Psychological management through cognitive behavioral therapy and related interventions (acceptance and commitment therapy, behavioral therapy and relaxation therapy).
- Treatment will begin with low-risk medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and acetaminophen.
- Opioids (morphine-like drugs)
- Opioid use must be tightly regulated to avoid overuse and addiction.
- NSAIDs: Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs
Guidelines on the management of chronic pain in children. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2020. Licence: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO.
The information in this patient summary should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care or advice. Contact a health care provider if you have questions about your health.