Children endure numerous acute painful events, most of which occur within the medical arena. For instance, by the time a child reaches the age of 6, the child will have experienced approximately 30 immunization injections (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2008). Grounded in the Gate Control Theory (Melzack & Wall, 1965), psychological methods of pain management have focused on anxiety and pain management via behavioral means. In addition, ample research has been devoted to how best to prepare children and their parents for upcoming painful or distress-provoking procedures (e.g., surgery, hospitalization, injection). This paper will review the preparation literature, which details how to inform and arm children and their parents for impending procedures and will highlight the psychological pain management literature which includes distraction, cognitive behavioral therapy, and additional promising interventions.
Welkom, J. S., Cohen, L. L., Joffe, N. E., & Bearden, D. J. (2009). Psychological approaches to acute pediatric pain management. In S. D’Alonso & K. L. Grasso (Eds.). Acute pain: Causes, Effects and Treatment (pp. 155-168). New York: Nova Science Publishers.