Always keep in mind that other factors in your child’s life may exacerbate pain.

“Children are developing and maturing,” says McGrath. “How they handle what gets thrust at them socially, sport-wise and academically is constantly changing and the demands are increasing.” Remain a positive support to your child through it all.

Parents Can Help

Dr. Zeltzer, author of Conquering Your Child’s Chronic Pain, offers the following suggestions to parents:

  • Stay calm if your child is in pain. If you get visibly worried, your child will get anxious and that’s going to make the pain worse.
  • Don’t ask how your child’s pain is as that will only make the child focus on their pain.
  • Help your child stay calm by taking 10 slow breaths together. “That can actually change their stress hormones and reduce pain signals,” says Dr. Zeltzer.
  • Distract your child from their pain.
  • Keep them busy with an activity, board game, TV show, good book or computer game.
  • Help your child imagine being some place fun or envisioning protective colors around their joints that soothe and heal.
  • Use heat or ice [link to hot and cold therapy], or give your child a massage.