Helping the child deal with pain

Helping the child deal with pain
Helping the child deal with pain

Experiencing pain and suffering is part of life, but untreated pain can cause fear, anxiety, and other symptoms.


It is important to recognize and treat children's pain, so that they feel better and recover faster from illness.

Recognize the child's pain

Pain symptoms vary depending on the age and development of the child. The child may cry, be capricious, become less active, refuse to move, be unable to fall asleep or on the contrary sleep too much. Each child has their own way of reacting to stress and pain. Parents should strive to recognize the child's individual reaction to pain.

Relieve the child's pain

There are various methods for relieving pain and anxiety in children, ranging from relaxation techniques to medication.

Mental Imagery

Children can often use their imaginations to transform and control painful sensation. The Montreal Children's Hospital Education and School Services specialists can provide you with more information about imaging to help your child.


TheCooling pads and cold compresses help reduce swelling and relieve short-term pain. Apply cooling pads wrapped in a thick cloth to the painful or swollen area for ten minutes every hour. Use cold with caution if the child has nerve damage or skin damage. The use of cooling pads and cold packs for infants and small children requires physician supervision.

The Heat

Hot baths, hot compresses and hot water bottles relieve sore muscles, joint stiffness and muscle cramps. Ask your doctor or nurse for instructions on applying heat. Do not apply heat to a recent injury or surgical area. Never place compresses in the microwave to heat them.


Massaging with lotion or warm oil on painful areas releases muscle tension and relieves cramps in the child.


Music diverts the child's attention from pain and is a pleasant pastime. You can sing to the child, play tapes or CDs, play an instrument, or have the child sing.


Holding the child in your arms, patting him lightly, massaging him and stroking him are forms of touch that express your support and comfort. Tapping works well in infants andyoung children, also evoking soothing gestures. Back, arm, leg and foot massages help the child focus on feeling good.


Tell the child that you realize he is in pain. Use words that convey your support, hope, love, encouragement, and understanding. Speak in a calm and reassuring voice. Remind the child that their pain has been taken care of and will stop.


Deep breathing and relaxation techniques also help relieve pain and anxiety. Children can play "cooked spaghetti" to release their muscle tension or alternatively tense and relax their muscles from head to toe. They can also count their breaths and breathe slowly to relax. Blowing soap bubbles is also a fun little game that relaxes and distracts from the pain.

Non-prescription drugs

You don't always need a doctor's prescription to get medicine. Over-the-counter medications are an effective and reliable option for relieving a child's pain. Using an analgesic such as acetaminophen (eg Tylenol®), as recommended, is a very effective and safe way to relieve a child's pain.

Remember that many prescription pain medications also contain acetaminophen. Other effective pain relievers, such as ibuprofen(Advil® and Motrin®), have anti-inflammatory properties and may be useful for the relief of specific pain conditions (headaches, muscular, arthritic or joint pain and certain postoperative pains). Speak with your pharmacist before giving ibuprofen to your child, as this medication is contraindicated in some cases. Painkillers take effect slowly. It is therefore preferable to treat the pain as soon as it appears. Don't wait for her to be alive. If you are unsure about the best medicine to give your child, talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

How to deal with painful or scary medical procedures

If the child is going to have a painful or distressing medical procedure, it is important to explain the process to them. Failure to warn him of what will happen to him could escalate the situation and negatively affect his later experiences.

Pain pills take effect slowly. It is therefore preferable to treat the pain as soon as it appears. Don't wait for her to be alive.

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