If you’ve ever seen a child in pain, you know how devastating it can be. The feeling that there’s nothing you can do. But what if there was something you could do and you just didn’t know it?
When Prof. Christine Chambers of the Centre for Pediatric Pain Research at the IWK Health Centre and Dalhousie University had kids, she realized that online information about child pain management was woefully lacking. In 2013 she made a video about managing needle pain in children. Something as simple as blowing bubbles to encourage deep breaths can make all the difference! But even though the video has thousands of views, getting those views was a lot harder than anticipated.
That’s the motivation behind “It Doesn’t Have To Hurt”, a social media campaign funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) spearheaded by Prof. Chambers. With the help of popular parenting website YummyMummyClub.ca, “It Doesn’t Have To Hurt” will take research evidence about assessing and managing children’s pain and quickly make it freely available to the people that can use it. The campaign started Monday with a live panel discussion and tweet wall at the Halifax Central Library and reached over 6 million people!
There are a lot of misconceptions about children’s pain, Prof. Chambers mentions in her TedX talk. You wouldn’t dream of performing surgery on a baby without pain management, right? Yet this was something that was routinely done until the 80s. Doctors thought babies simply didn’t feel pain yet. It took a long time for that idea to change. Even today, it takes about 17 years for research findings to translate into clinical practice. But hopefully, with campaigns like #ItDoesntHaveToHurt, that time can be substantially reduced.
With flu shot season coming up, we could all use a few tips for pain management. So follow the tweets, read the blog posts, watch the videos, and help fight children’s pain!