Abstract Information


Ouch… that hurts!! Understanding, assessing, and treating pain in youth with spinal cord injury using a multidisciplinary approach

Russell H, Scharff K, Pittman M, Lipa B
Shriners Hospitals for Children- Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA, USA

Synopsis: Chronic pain affects 15-30% of children and youth from the general population and results in a decrease in overall quality of life. Specifically in SCI, the percentage of youth reporting chronic pain can be as high as 65%. Very little can be found in the literature about pain in youth with SCI even though it is reported to have such a high occurrence rate. This talk will define pain, review the developmental influences, discuss methods of assessment, and examine the psychological, therapeutic and medical treatment methods for chronic pain in youth with SCI.
Chronic pain has an impact on daily function, school, family life and participation. This talk will identify common chronic pain complaints, classification of pain after SCI, medical diagnostic work-up, pharmacologic treatment options, and importance of caregiver and child beliefs influencing treatment management.
This talk will also identify physical and occupational therapy interventions that address and prevent pain in children and youth with chronic SCI. After identification of functional goals, the therapists develop programs to empower the patient to prevent and manage their pain using exercise, modalities, and functional/ergonomic training that will help the patient to continue to participate in daily activities.
Reports of pain in youth with SCI are quite common and only increase as they age into adulthood. An increase in the awareness and implementation of multimodal treatments may contribute to a decrease in these reports of pain and potentially improve outcomes in youth with SCI.

Course Chair:
Heather F. Russell, Ph.D.; Clinical Psychologist; Shriners Hospitals for Children, Philadelphia, PA

Kimberly A. Scharff, PT, DPT, PCS; Staff Physical Therapist; Shriners Hospitals for Children, Philadelphia, PA; kscharff@shrinenet.org

Bethany M. Lipa, M.D.; Director of Spinal Cord Injury Program; Shriners Hospitals for Children, Philadelphia, PA; blipa@shrinenet.org

Madeleine S. Pittman, MS, OTR/L, CKTP; Staff Occupational Therapist; Shriners Hospitals for Children, Philadelphia, PA; mpittman@shrinenet.org

Funding Source: none

Draft Agenda:
00:00 – 05:00 Introduction
05:00 – 20:00 Psychological approaches to pain in youth with SCI (Heather)
20:00 – 35:00 Therapeutic approaches to pain in youth with SCI (Kim and Maddy)
35:00 – 50:00 Pharmacological approaches to pain in youth with SCI (Bethany)
50:00 – 60:00 Questions/Discussion


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