Sometimes it is less obvious why your child is in pain and what will help them most. Older children might be able to tell you when they have a pain and where it hurts. It is harder when you have a very young child or a child with communication problems.
The first thing is to work out if they have a pain and where it might be. You might notice that your child just ‘isn’t their usual self’ and / or they could have other signs of pain like;
- Crying and irritability –or being quiet and withdrawn.
- Sleeping more, or less than usual.
- Going off drinks and foods (small babies may want to feed more- they get comfort from sucking).
- Not moving and/or not wanting you to touch a certain body part – they may get upset if you do.
- Pulling at their ears (headaches or earaches).
- Pulling their knees up or curl into a ball (colic and tummy aches).
- Biting down hard on things and having a snotty nose, or rosy cheeks (teething & toothaches).
You can ask older children to tell you more about the pain so you can work out how best to help them. You could ask them to tell you;
- Where the pain is.
- How long they have had it.
- Can they remember hurting themselves?
- Have they had a pain like this before?
Ask them what they think they need; they may just want a cuddle or a lie down.
Monitoring The Pain
Some pain will only last a very short time and clear up on its own. If you are not sure how bad their pain is, or what is causing the pain, watch and wait for a short while. Once you have a better idea of how much the pain is affecting them it is easier to decide what help they need.
- See how your child is behaving are they distressed, unusually quiet or easily distracted?
- Does the pain seem to be there all of the time? Does it come and go?
- What makes it better or worse?
Aches and pains can make your child feel worried and frightened; having you close by to reassure them will make a big difference.
Some children (and parents!) benefit from using some relaxation techniques to help with pain.