All children experience pain. Whether it’s pain from medical procedures or surgeries, everyday aches and pains, or sometimes more serious chronic illness. But no matter the source of the discomfort, no parent wants to see their child in pain.
My kids are lucky. They have a health researcher as a mom who has spent 20 years studying children’s pain. Because of this, I have the inside track on the latest and greatest health research information that can make a difference for my kids. Believe me...my children have had their fair share of injuries, illnesses, and hospitalizations over the years, and these experiences have taken me to the front lines of what pain management is like for kids and families.
I've learned that children aren’t always getting the cutting-edge, research-based treatments for pain they should be and that I know are possible to offer. We’ve certainly come a long way from the 1970s and 80s, when many believed that babies didn’t feel pain and that it was too risky to use anaesthetics with them. These babies often underwent major surgeries with drugs simply to paralyze them so they wouldn’t move during surgery; they were given nothing for pain. Thankfully, this doesn’t happen anymore, but there are still many ways we could do better.
The reality is a lot of health research - including research on children’s pain - never ends up getting used. It can take as a long as 17 years from the time a health research study is published to when it actually impacts clinical care.
I want to change that.
I want to make sure that all the great research being done on children’s pain gets into the hands of the people who need it most – parents! It’s also important that health professionals be better trained about pain.
I’m a firm believer in the power of parents, so two years ago I created a brief, fun video for parents, in which a 4 year-old girl offers tips for parents on what they should – and shouldn’t – do to help make shots and needles less painful - all based on research! We posted the video on YouTube and it went over really well – but it was hard for me as a health researcher to reach all the parents I wanted to. Fortunately, Erica Ehm saw the video on Twitter and YMC blogger, Dr. Kim Foster, shared the video in one of her blog posts. To my amazement, parents started discussing and sharing the video and we had a huge jump in the number of video views!
This gave me an idea...what if a health researcher like me, and YummyMummyClub.ca, worked together?
As a health researcher I have great research messages about children’s pain to share that parents can use. YMC has the tools to share the research in engaging ways with a large group of eager parents - like you! With thanks to grant funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, we are happy to bring you the “It Doesn’t Have to Hurt” initiative, a partnership between myself (and the Centre for Pediatric Pain Research where I am based), and YummyMummyClub.ca.
Starting today, and over the next 12 months, we’ll be sharing all kinds of great research evidence on children’s pain that will make a difference for you and your kids. We’ll be covering a whole range of topics, such as:
Our goal is to start a conversation about children’s pain and we want to hear from you. Your questions and comments will help to guide both this initiative and the future of research on pain in children. Let’s work together to make sure children get the best pain care possible. And what’s really cool, is that we’ll be studying the whole initiative. Not only we will be looking at the reach of all the initiative content, we’ll be surveying and interviewing parents to see if any of this makes a difference for their children.
So join us! Not every child has a pain management expert for a mom like mine do. But I’m here to share, with the help of YMC, everything I know from the state of the art health research on children’s pain, so that your children can get the best pain care too!
This pain project is a two way street. I may have lots of answers about children’s pain, but I’m sure you have a lot of questions. If you’d like more information about any specific type of pain your child is dealing with, let me know in the comments below and I’ll try to help you out by answering them on YMC.