Pediatric pain rehabilitation program

By Mayo Clinic Staff

The three-week pediatric pain rehabilitation program is available for adolescents (ages 12 to young adult) with chronic pain, chronic fatigue, dysfunction in involuntary body functions (autonomic dysfunction) and other chronic symptoms.

Candidates for the program include adolescents whose chronic pain or other chronic symptoms negatively affect their functioning or moods.

Adolescents who are candidates may have conditions, such as:

  • Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS)
  • Chronic headaches
  • Migraines
  • Generalized pain
  • Abdominal pain
  • Complex regional pain syndrome
  • Other types of chronic pain

Staff members in this program meet with adolescents as a group and address the additional challenges that young people with chronic pain face. Because teenagers with chronic pain often aren't active in school, a group setting can help them develop better social relationships.

In addition to core components such as stress management, staff in the pediatric program covers topics specific to teens from a teenage point of view, such as:

  • Learning about dysfunction in involuntary body functions (autonomic dysfunction)
  • Understanding the difference between short-lasting (acute) pain and long-lasting (chronic) pain
  • Managing a difficult day
  • Returning to school planning
  • Resuming leisure and recreation activities
  • Taking personal responsibility

The program uses a rolling admission, meaning that on any given day someone may begin the program while another person completes it. New participants can learn from and ask questions of staff and other people at various stages of program completion.

The program includes two days of pre-admission evaluation appointments and 15 days of therapy. It's held Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Parent program

Chronic pain affects all family members. The pediatric program includes daily sessions for parents to learn more about chronic conditions, how to respond to people with chronic pain effectively and how to lessen the effect of chronic pain on family members. Other family members and siblings are welcome to attend.

Pediatric two-day program

The PRC also offers a two-day program for adolescents and young adults with chronic pain. The two-day program incorporates core components to help teens and young adults manage their pain, but it doesn't include physical or occupational therapy.

Candidates for the two-day program may not be able to attend the three-week program because of time limitations or financial concerns. The program is held regularly on two consecutive days from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.