Adolescent Specialist Questions Chronic Pain

My daughter has chronic pain. What should I do?

My daughter has been dealing with chronic pain for a year and a half. I feel like this has to do with her stress and anxiety, because there's nothing physically wrong with her. What can I do?

6 Answers

I’m sorry to hear your daughter has been dealing with pain for so long. There are so many reasons why pain can exist or persist, even if there isn’t an identifiable trigger. The best way to approach these situations is to visit a qualified Pain Management physician who can gather a full history, perform a physical exam and continue the work up with either more tests, a referral to a more appropriate specialist, or make recommendations for treatment. I would be happy to see you and your daughter in my clinic to help further explore what’s going on. Thanks for reaching out.
Dealing with chronic pain can be very challenging, Stess and anxiety definitely adds to the problem. I suggest that your daughter consult with a psychologist that specializes in pain utilizing cognitive behavioral therapy and other techniques to help her.
Hi. Thank you for your question.

I’m so sorry to hear that she is suffering. Just because there is nothing wrong on imaging or tests doesn’t mean there is nothing wrong in her body. Sometimes people have hypersensitivity in their nerves or muscles that can cause pain. And anxiety only makes this worse. There are a lot of ways to help such as medications, relaxation techniques, physical therapy, psychologists, etc. The right consultant is key in a case like this.
Stress and anxiety can cause muscles to tense up, which can lead to pain and stiffness in almost any area of the body. Constant worry, stress, and even chronic pain and inflammation can keep a person's immune system from working properly, making the more susceptible to infection and disease. Pain that persists beyond 3-6 months is considered chronic pain. There may be an underlying cause that is treatable without pain medications. It's important to have evaluation by a fellowship trained, Board Certified Pain Management Specialist.
The issue is that any given person's experience of pain, and in particular chronic pain, is a combination of biological, psychological and social factors as described by Engel in 1977 (The Biopsychosocial Model of Pain)
The best approach is to engage the primary care physician and determine is there need for a general wellness screen. Based upon the outcomes of this, corrective action of what can be addressed should be done. The importance of stress management, sleep and treatment of depression and associated disorders cannot be overlooked and should be addressed immediately. Lastly, physical therapy should be initiated to meet the specific or general musculoskeletal problem and consultation to Pain Management is an important next step for subspecialty recommendations.
Make sure she is evaluated before you leave it as stress.