Is intense physical and occupational therapy without medications cruel?

At first it may seem cruel, but working through the pain not only saves the child from unnecessary risk and side effects of medications and procedures but also gives them the tools to stay well without needing to depend on health care professionals should they have a reoccurrence. Amplified pain is much more severe, but the principle is like when your leg falls asleep – it hurts to walk on it but the sooner you do the sooner it feels better. Amplified pain is cruel, not the treatment.

Kids like Matt (see Matt’s Story under patient videos here) had over 4 years of pain, failed multiple medications, had a pain pump surgically implanted and was still totally incapacitated. In 4 weeks of therapy, his pain resolved and he was able to have the pain pump removed. Another patient had 8 years of pain, including severe abdominal pain thought to be due to constipation to the point she had a colostomy. She had multiple IV medication trials and treatments. After 4 weeks of treatment her pain resolved, she was able to have her colostomy taken down, and spent her senior year going to school as any other normal teen after having missed most of high school.

Medications and procedures, in the children we feature in the video, do not work. To hold onto the hope of yet another pill or procedure is, in effect, more cruel than a few weeks of intense physical and occupational therapy. The children going through the program say that it is hard, but not cruel. It is trying, but there is a lot of emotional support for the children and their families.  The health care professionals who work with these children are individuals who choose their career paths because they care about these kids. They are also cognizant of the child’s limits as they set attainable daily goals.

In quick summary, in a study of 70 children who were treated with drugs, only 42% resolved their symptoms, whereas in a study of 103 children treated with just an intense physical and occupational therapy program, 92% resolved all symptoms. Five years later 88% had no symptoms at the time of follow-up. In another study on intense physical and occupational therapy treatment, of 32 children, 89% resolved all their symptoms. These are the statistics that we have and we need to give these kids their best shot at beating amplified pain.

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