Chronic pain: How to assess in young children

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Discover the signs of chronic pain in a young child and how chronic pain is assessed in medical settings.

Key points

  • In young children, behavioural signs of chronic pain include protecting the body, avoiding activities and regressing to earlier stages of development, for instance wanting to sleep with a parent.
  • Some children may also be able to verbally express their pain, but it is important to separate physical pain from distress in children who are less verbal.
  • In medical settings, your child may be seen by a number of health-care providers, who will ask your child questions to learn about their level of function.
  • Health-care providers may also use the Individualized Numerical Rating Scale (INRS) to assess pain based on a child's behaviour.
Last updated: January 25th 2019