Acute Pain Management

Managing Pain

We offer several pain medication delivery methods to help control your child’s pain appropriately.

Our goal is to make your child as comfortable as possible while in the hospital. For best results, we use a combination of interventions. Your child’s nurse, doctor and other care team members can give you more information and suggestions. Please ask your physician or nurse what medications or therapies are being used to manage your child’s pain.

Epidural analgesia

Epidural analgesia delivers pain medicine continuously through a tube in the back. The epidural catheter is placed while your child is asleep in the operating room. Pain medicine is given through the catheter by a pump that is programmed to deliver it continuously at a specific rate. The pain medicines used in an epidural are local anesthetics and an opioid. This medicine is given close to the nerves blocking pain signals to the brain. An epidural catheter can be left in place for one to five days. This type of pain treatment typically causes fewer side effects compared to other pain treatment options.

Spinal blocks

A spinal block provides pain relief for the first few hours after an operation. The block is done in the operating room while your child is asleep. A tiny needle is used to inject pain medications—usually opioids or clonidine—in the fluid surrounding the spinal cord. Tubing is not left in the patient’s back, and the block will not prevent your child from moving his or her legs or standing after the operation. Once the effect of the pain medications wears off, your child will begin receiving oral medications as needed.

Peripheral nerve catheter (PNC)

A peripheral nerve catheter (PNC) gives pain medicine continuously through a tube in the arm or leg. It is placed while your child is asleep in the operating room. Pain medication is given with a programmed pump to deliver the medication continuously to control pain to a specific nerve. The pain medicine used is a local anesthetic that blocks pain signals from reaching the brain. Your child will be able to move but may not have feeling in the area that is receiving the medicine.

Patient-controlled analgesia (PCA)

Patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) is a programmable pump that delivers IV pain medication at the push of a button. The pump is programmed to give a specific amount of medicine for your child's pain without the risk of overdosing. No matter how often your child presses the button, he or she only receives the amount of medicine that is safe for them. Your child should press the button when he or she is in pain or about to do an activity that may hurt, like getting out of bed. Have your child press the button 10 minutes before moving. He or she can press the button again during the activity. Nurses and parents have access to press the button is the child is too young to control their medications.

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