Pain during needles
Reducing pain during the many needle-related procedures your baby or child has during their early childhood vaccinations, or blood tests, or if they need to be in hospital, is important. Research shows that for young babies, breastfeeding or kangaroo care (holding your baby skin to skin against your chest) during needles significantly reduces pain. If this is not feasible, giving babies very small amounts of sugar water before and during needle procedures is also very effective at keeping babies calm and settled during these procedures.
For children, there are things you can do to help your child during needles. For example, distraction by blowing bubbles or a pinwheel, or favorite toy suitable for their age. What also can help is topical anesthetic cream (numbing cream) and preparing your child for the needle. For more information on ways to help your children during needles, click on the link below.
Click on the link below to view a factsheet on reducing pain in infants, children, and teenagers during pain proviking procedures.
Friendships Impact Pain and Pain Impacts Friendships
Children and teenagers with chronic pain have been shown to have higher rates of loneliness, may have fewer friends, and maybe bullied more often. Pain is not the result of bullying and many of the teenagers who have participated in our studies have talked about changes in their friendships after the onset of pain (not the other way around).
Teenagers with chronic pain may feel misunderstood and different from their friends. They wish their friends knew what to do to help them when they were experiencing pain. Teenagers with chronic pain sometimes feel their friends are not being supportive, and this is very distressing to them. Most teenagers do not talk to their friends about the best ways to help them and what is not helpful. Therefore, teenagers with pain sometimes feel safer when they stay home and avoid friends. However, staying home alone may increase loneliness, make the teenager feel disconnected from friends and further isolates them from their friends.
At the moment, we are still not sure what are the best ways to help teenagers with chronic pain to stay connected and close to their friends. However, new research is starting to show that healthy teenagers may not understand what to do when their friends are unable to participate in school or other activities because of pain. The simple action of teenagers talking to their closest friends is a place to start. This may be hard for a teenager with chronic pain, as they may fear being rejected by friends so they may need encouragement to talk to their friends about their pain.
Parents can help their child stay connected with their friends. For example, if teenagers with chronic pain miss school they should be encouraged to call their friends to catch up. These conversations are really about what is going on socially at school as much as academically. Although teenagers with chronic pain may think their friends would call if they were concerned, research shows that healthy teens may not think to call. Many teenagers with chronic pain miss school on a regular basis and therefore healthy friends may simply think that when the teenager’s feeling better they will return to school. Healthy teenagers may not understand the importance of keeping up with social activities. Encouraging a teenager with chronic pain to call friends, have friends over, and knowing that if their pain should get worse while out that their friends can help may make a teenager with chronic pain more confident in going out to socialize.