Pain Bytes website helps children with chronic pain

share stories, learn strategies for pain management

By Linda Hunt

A new online tool to help children deal with chronic pain is already gaining the world's attention.

The interactive website, Pain Bytes, was developed by health practitioners in New South Wales and presented at a medical conference in Hobart today.

The website is a way for young people to access strategies for pain management and share individual stories.

Clinical psychologist Meg Goodison-Farnsworth, from Sydney Children's Hospital Randwick, helped develop the website.

"This is all research based," Dr Goodison-Farnsworth said.

"There are two modules on the psychology around how we manage chronic pain.

"Really importantly, there's a module on getting yourself physically active. Another really important one is schooling. [It] is imperative for these children, so how we do graded returns back to school."

One in five children experience chronic pain, but Dr Goodison-Farnsworth says it is often misunderstood.

"Even patients that we get have been through multiple clinicians who have come up with a variety of things and in the end said, 'The child's making it up to get attention, to get off school; they don't want to play sport, they can't possibly have pain because I've done all these tests and there's nothing there'."

Teenager says site makes her feel 'like you're not alone'

Lauren Cooper, 13, lives with chronic pain from cystic fibrosis.

"It stops me from doing things I love, like sport, seeing my friends, going out shopping, going out to the movies, just doing day-to-day activities," she said.

"It doesn't help because people can't see the pain if they look at me they'll see a healthy girl but in fact, in the inside I'm in a lot of pain."

The teenager has been using the interactive website.

"I think it's good," she said.

"You get to see other people's perspective of things and how they deal with it and hear other people's stories.

"It makes you feel like you're not alone." 

Please click here to read the rest of this wonderful article and to view the video.

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