Pain in Children and Adolescents

Pain in Children and Adolescents

Children are often seen in the Clifton Hill Physiotherapy clinic with complaints of pain in varied parts of their body – back, knees, ankles or feet are just some of the places children will present with pain. Often the examination will find a specific condition, or changes to strength and flexibility, due to growth or previous injury, that can be rectified with an exercise programme of strengthening and stretching activities.

However, this is not always the case, and we do see children who experience pain that is often felt in the absence of any tissue damage, or muscle weakness or tightness. Our improved knowledge of the way our brain works can provide us with an explanation for how a child can experience pain in the absence of any damage to the body’s tissues.

Factors that can influence a child’s pain include

  • Previous experiences of pain
  • Exposure to pain within the family or school environment
  • Fear of movement causing tissue damage
  • Anxiety
  • Other stresses at home or school including
    • Bullying
    • Academic achievement
    • Performance expectations

The team at Clifton Hill Physiotherapy has extensive experience managing children’s pain, and identifying when the above factors might be contributing to your child’s pain. The assessment of the child’s musculoskeletal status, plus investigating any psychosocial issues that maybe present will allow us to make the best recommendation for your child. Our assessment will also include asking special questions that will identify if further tests are required. Often education regarding pain, including reassurance and de-threatening the child’s movement and activity, is enough to manage and resolve the pain. If the pain has been more persistent and the child has reduced their activity for an extended period, this needs to be in conjunction with an exercise programme that helps to gradually condition the body to normal activity.

Brendon Egan, Physiotherapist


About Brendan

Brendan is an experienced paediatric Physiotherapist having spent over sixteen years working at the Royal Children’s Hospital treating children and adolescents with a range of conditions. He has presented at national and international conferences and is co-author and editor of a book on sporting choices for boys with Haemophilia.

Brendan’s particular expertise is paediatric musculoskeletal issues with many years of experience treating children with persistent pain, haemophilia, juvenile arthritis, scoliosis and burns management. Other interests include advising families on developmental issues such as flat feet, knock knees and torticollis/wry neck. Children and adolescents requiring rehabilitation following trauma, fractures and surgery would also benefit from Brendan’s expertise.