Pain Management

There is much more to pain than physical discomfort, especially for children and teens. When a child hurts, everything suffers — from relationships with friends and family, to learning and behavior at school. At Nemours, our pediatric pain management team uses a family-centered approach to develop a balanced outpatient and/or inpatient plan that’s focused on physical and emotional rehabilitation and whole-child wellness.

Our goal is to use the least amount of medicine possible to relieve your child’s pain, and to bring your child hope for brighter days ahead.

Learn More About Pain Management in Children

Nemours pediatric pain management services are provided by a multidisciplinary team that includes specialists in pediatric anesthesiology, physical medicine and rehabilitation (which includes physical and occupational therapy),and behavior health (psychology and psychiatry), as well as support from compassionate social workers, care coordinators, Child Life specialists, and more.

We work closely with your primary care physician/pediatrician and other specialists your child may see, ensuring everyone is always on the same page and your family gets the best possible care.

Restoring Comfort Inside and Out Through Pediatric Pain Management

Pain is defined as an unpleasant emotional and sensory experience. It can be aching or throbbing, sharp or dull, constant or intermittent (off and on). We understand that pain is physical and mental, and that everyone experiences pain differently. Our team takes the time to get to know your child so we can properly assess the pain and develop the most appropriate treatment.

Pain Symptoms and Conditions We Treat

Pediatric pain symptoms and conditions we treat include:
  • acute pain (pain that’s temporary or short-term from, say, surgery or an injury)
  • chronic pain (pain that lasts more than six months)
  • abdominal pain
  • arthritis/joint inflammation
  • back and leg pain
  • cancer pain
  • fibromyalgia (widespread muscle pain)
  • headaches
  • neck, shoulder and arm pain
  • nerve injuries
  • neuropathic pain (complex regional pain syndrome – also called CRPS or RSD)
  • pain related to mental health disorders (anxiety and depression)
  • pain related to sports injuries

Minimal Medication Therapies for Pediatric Pain Management

Our whole-child approach to pain management in children includes a variety of therapies to help free your child from pain, inside and out. Your child’s personalized pain management plan may include:

  • cognitive behavioral therapy (teaches relaxation techniques and coping skills)
  • physical therapy (improves strength and mobility)
  • occupational therapy (improves daily functioning)

Your child may be referred or prescribed additional therapies such as:

  • hydrotherapy (uses water for exercise and comfort, also called aquatic therapy)
  • acupuncture (stimulates natural healing)
  • biofeedback (trains the mind to control pain)
  • integrative medicine (includes yoga, massage and meditation)

Managing Pediatric Pain With Pain Medications

At Nemours, we’re committed to providing the safest, most effective therapy for your child with the least amount of medication. A balanced pediatric pain management treatment plan may include medicines like:

  • patient-controlled analgesics, or PCA (delivers medication through a pump when activated by the patient)
  • epidurals (pain medication delivered through a small tube in the spine)
  • regional pain blocks (injections that offer pain relief for specific areas of the body)
  • pain medications (anti-inflammatory medications or opioids that reduce the amount of pain messages sent to the brain)
  • other medications (antidepressants or anticonvulsants)
Return to all locations

Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, Wilmington

1600 Rockland Road
Wilmington, DE 19803
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Phone: For more information or to schedule a consultation with the Integrated Pain and Wellness Program team, please call the clinical nurse coordinator at (302) 651-6038.

What to Bring
  • photo ID
  • medical and pharmacy insurance cards
  • preferred pharmacy name and phone number
  • names and dosage of all medications, including over-the-counter medication, your child is currently taking
  • guardianship and custody papers, if a legal guardian rather than a parent accompanies your child
Returning Patients
  • Patient Presents Without Legal Guardian (PDF)
    English | Spanish
    Note: A parent or legal guardian must be with a child for a first visit.
Forms & Resources
Returning Patients
  • Patient Presents Without Legal Guardian (PDF)
    English | Spanish
    Note: A parent or legal guardian must be with a child for a first visit.
Resources for Patients & Families

The Integrated Pain and Wellness Program at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Del., offers a multidisciplinary (combining several medical specialties) approach to pediatric pain management to treat chronic pain. Our program is designed to care for children and teens on an outpatient basis, and is one of only a handful in the United States that also provides support services for the entire family.

Whole-Child Pediatric Pain Management

Our program focuses on overall wellness and combines the expertise of physicians from multiple specialties and a variety of therapies to meet your child’s physical, mental and emotional needs. And, because your child’s pain can’t wait, we’re committed to seeing you as quickly as possible.

Customized Pain Management Care

Pain can not only affect your child, it can impact your whole family’s dynamic — that’s why we involve your entire family in the healing process. Once we get a complete assessment of your child’s condition, our team works to help you understand the treatment options, ways to manage the condition, and how to help your child cope with pain at home and at school.

It’s often difficult for kids to describe what they’re feeling. That’s why it’s important to have experienced pediatric specialists engaged in your child’s care. Our team will take the time to get to know your child and develop a treatment plan that best fits your child and family’s needs.

Pediatric Pain Symptoms and Conditions We Treat

Some of the pain symptoms and conditions we treat in children and teens include:

  • abdominal pain
  • arthritis/joint inflammation
  • back and leg pain
  • fibromyalgia (widespread muscle pain)
  • headaches
  • neck, shoulder and arm pain
  • nerve injuries
  • neuropathic pain — also called “complex regional pain syndrome” (CRPS) or “reflex sympathetic dystrophy” (RSD)
  • pain related to sports injuries

Learn More About These and Other Children’s Health Topics From Nemours’ »

Our Integrated Approach to Pediatric Pain Management

At Nemours, we don’t rely on medication alone to manage your child’s pain. In addition to minimal medication therapies, we want to give your child or teen more control over pain to help reduce the stress and anxiety it causes. Your child’s customized pediatric pain management treatment plan may include a combination of therapies such as those listed below.

Physical Rehabilitation

To help your child increase mobility and build strength, our rehabilitation medicine physician works with Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children's therapy professionals, including occupational therapists and physical therapists. These highly trained health professionals will teach you and your child exercises and stretches to use at home and at school.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Pediatric behavioral health experts will help your family cope with the emotional and psychological aspects of pain. Our compassionate providers will teach healthy ways to think about and react to pain by working with your child individually, with your family and/or in a group setting with other children and teens.


Pain can be managed by training the body to control internal processes that occur naturally, such as blood pressure, muscle tension, skin temperature and heart rate. Our physicians and therapeutic health professionals will teach your child or teen exercises and relaxation techniques to help control pain, which can reduce anxiety and emotional stress.

Complementary/Integrative Medicine

Healing Touch, yoga and massage therapy have been shown to promote pain relief, relaxation and distraction. That’s why these integrative medicine therapies may also be prescribed as part of your child’s pain management treatment plan.

Parents and guardians also can get Healing Touch and massage therapy services to help relieve their own stress and help them cope with taking care of their sick child.

Learn More About:
Pain Medications

The physicians in our Integrated Pain and Wellness Program team are committed to using the lowest possible dosage of pain medication necessary for chronic or acute pain. Children are not little adults and our pediatric specialists understand the effects certain medicines have on our youngest patients. We take special care to ensure patient safety. We'll work with any other doctors your child may be seeing to ensure the best levels of pain medications are used to help with your child’s specific condition or injury.

Some of the medications we may use include:

  • pain medicines — Prescription-strength anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen can help reduce the amount of pain messages that are sent to the brain.
  • other medications — Antidepressants and anticonvulsants are proven to reduce certain kinds of pain.
What to Expect at Your First Pediatric Pain Management Visit

Your child’s first appointment may include evaluations with a variety of specialists and may take several hours. Depending on your child’s needs, you can expect to:

  • First meet with one of our physicians, who will take a complete medical history, perform a medical examination, and spend time getting to know you and your child.
  • Meet with a behavioral health expert, who will evaluate your child’s emotional status and your family’s concerns.
  • Meet with one of our occupational therapists and/or physical therapists for an evaluation.
  • Spend time with a social worker, who can help coordinate your child’s care and find information, community services and resources for your child and family.
  • Meet with one of the integrative medicine providers to hear more about the services offered.