Treating children with chronic pain is challenging; there is limited evidence on the efficacy of pain-relieving therapies among this population. But according to new research, acupuncture may be a safe and effective treatment strategy.
Chronic pain is defined as any pain that lasts at least 12 weeks. It is estimated that around 20-35% of children and teenagers across the globe have chronic pain.
Treating adults with chronic pain has its difficulties, but treating children with the condition is even more challenging; there is little evidence on effective drug therapies for chronic pain in children, and health professionals are often wary of providing certain treatments to youngsters because of their vulnerability during growth and the fear of possible long-term health implications.
“Effective treatment of pain can be particularly difficult because it’s subjective; but with children, it is increasingly difficult because a child may not be able to communicate effectively depending on the age and accurate recognition of pain,” adds Johnson.
As such, the search is on to identify safe and effective therapies for chronic pain in children, and with this latest study, Johnson and her team may have found one: acupuncture.
Acupuncture is a practice used in traditional Chinese medicine, which involves stimulating certain pressure points on the body, most commonly with the insertion of thin needles through the skin.
While acupuncture is considered an effective treatment for chronic pain in adults, there is little information on whether the procedure may be an effective form of pain relief for children.
“This study looked at the effect of acupuncture in children directly, rather than examining data collected from adults,” says Johnson. “This focus is especially important, since children experience pain in different ways than adults.”
Source: medicalnews today