Eyecatcher For parents

What is chronic pain?

Picture of the pain memory (chronic pain in children)

It is often very stressful for parents when their child has chronic pain. Many parents of these children feel helpless and overtaxed.  However, there are a number of measures with which parents can help their children sensibly and effectively. To do this one must understand what chronic pain is.

Chronic pain, that is, pain that occurs repeatedly and for longer than three months, usually has several causes.

The “biological” part of chronic pain can be a genetically conditioned tendency to tension headaches, for example, or an injury or inflammation.

The “biological” part of chronic pain also includes the formation of pain memory, that is, the formation of cell connections in the brain (“synapses”), in which the pain is stored. Just as we can remember events, we can also remember pain – but the memory is so similar to the actual pain that it is impossible to distinguish between the two.

The “psychological” part of chronic pain is thoughts and feelings that are connected to the pain. Certain thoughts (for example, “The pain just won’t go away”) or feelings like fear and helplessness reinforce the attention paid to the pain and thus the pain memory.

We call this ping-pong effect “the vicious cycle of pain”. It finally leads to a so-called “pain condition”.

Treatment of chronic pain in children

If a pain condition is present, pain dominates the life of the child and usually also that of the family. In such cases, an appointment at our outpatient clinic is often helpful. There, a multiprofessional team, consisting of a doctor and a psychologist, can search for solutions together with you.

Incidence of chronic pain in childhood and adolescence


Figure on children and adolescents with disability due to pain

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