Welcome to our “Frequently Asked Questions” page.

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Scroll down for a discussion on drugs and other treatments.


Drugs and Other Treatments for Amplified Pain Syndromes:

There is a strong tendency to use medications or other procedures to try to treat the symptoms of the various forms of amplified pain. It is very hard for a physician facing a child in pain to not “do something.” However, the evidence supporting the use of medications in children with amplified pain is slim to nonexistent and very real side effects can occur in patients when medications or procedures are used. Because the pain is amplified it is usually very resistant to traditional pain treatments or procedures. Sometimes there is an initial benefit but it generally wears off. Any evaluation of a treatment needs to include long-term results. There are too many treatments that have been touted as beneficial in a few patients but then, over the years, prove to be of no lasting or universal benefit.

The mind-body connection is significant in children with amplified pain and there is a propensity for these children to have a placebo effect. The very first child reported with complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) spontaneously resolved all of her symptoms the day she was meant to see a psychologist and two days before she was scheduled for a nerve block. This is not to imply that the pain was “all in her head,” but that the sympathetic nerves causing the pain are intrinsically linked to our emotions. Therefore, expectations of benefit can play a major role in short-term studies. This is reflected in the fact that there are so many widely varying therapies that have been proposed as beneficial in amplified pain syndromes.

Our philosophy is that intense physical and occupational therapy done in conjunction with emotional support and counseling should be the first course of treatment for all children with amplified pain. It is very effective, it is supported by a large series of patients at multiple treatment centers, and it enables the child to address reoccurrences without medical intervention.  Below are individual discussions on the evidence for drugs and interventions commonly used to treat amplified pain. Before embarking on any course of treatment, including intense physical and occupational therapy, the risks and benefits should be fully discussed with your health care providers.


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