Pediatric Pain Rehabilitation Program

By Mayo Clinic Staff

The three-week Pediatric Pain Rehabilitation Program is for adolescents with chronic pain, autonomic dysfunction and other chronic symptoms. This program addresses the additional challenges that face adolescents who have chronic pain. Adolescents participate as a group. Teenagers with chronic pain are often not active in school, and a group setting can help them develop better social relationships.

In addition to core pain management concepts such as stress management and chemical health education, the pediatric program covers topics specific to teens and from a teenage point of view, such as:

  • Education on autonomic nervous system dysfunction
  • Managing a difficult day
  • Return to school planning
  • Leisure and recreation
  • Personal responsibility

Adolescents whose chronic pain negatively impacts their functioning or mood are candidates for the program. Common types of chronic pain seen in this program are postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, headache/migraine, generalized pain, abdominal pain and complex regional pain syndrome. Nearly any site of chronic pain can be addressed in the program.

The program uses a rolling admission, meaning that on any given day someone may begin the program and another person may be completing it. As a result, new participants can learn from and ask questions of staff and other patients at various stages of program completion. The program is actually 17 days: 2 days of pre-admission evaluation appointments and 15 days of therapy (Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.)

Parent Program

Because pain has a great impact on all family members, the adolescent program also includes daily sessions for parents. Other family members and siblings are also welcome to attend. Parents learn more about chronic conditions, ways to respond effectively and how to lessen the impact on the family.