“It Doesn’t Have to Hurt”: Understanding and Improving Children’s Pain Management
Chronic pain, now recognized as a disease in and of itself, affects one in five Canadians, including children. In fact, it is estimated to affect more people than diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined.
In children, poorly managed pain (both acute and chronic) is a serious health problem that leads to unnecessary suffering and long-term negative effects. And two-thirds of children with chronic pain will continue to struggle with the condition into adulthood.
As Canada Research Chair in Children’s Pain, Dr. Christine Chambers aims to improve how we understand, assess and manage children’s pain by examining how various developmental, psychological and social factors contribute to it. Specifically, Chambers and her research team are studying the role family factors play in children’s pain as well as psychological interventions for pain management.
Chambers and her team are also exploring how science-media partnerships can improve health research knowledge. Through an innovative partnership with Erica Ehm’s YummyMummyClub.ca—an online forum for parents that reaches more than 5 million people per month—they are looking at the influence of social media on pain management. They are determining the reach and impact of the “It Doesn’t Have to Hurt” social media initiative to share evidence-based information about children’s pain through blogs, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.
Ultimately, Chambers’ work will generate new knowledge, synthesize existing knowledge, and ensure this information translates into better outcomes for children with pain.