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June 19, 1981

Managing Pain in Children

Author Affiliations

The Children's Orthopedic Hospital and Medical Center Seattle

JAMA. 1981;245(23):2429-2430. doi:10.1001/jama.1981.03310480045029

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No one would argue that one of man's most appreciated achievements over the past century has taken place in the conquest, or at least the management, of pain. Without this progress, modern surgery would obviously be nonexistent; bypassing pain is the sine qua non of successful major surgery. Effective, efficient, and safe general, regional, and spinal anesthesias have all been essential to appropriate advances. The use of narcotics, of palliative neurosurgical techniques, and of hypnotism, as well as the evolution of pain clinics—these and other successes stress the fact that medicine seems to be gaining the upper hand in dealing with pain—particularly in adults—certainly in comparison with those of a century ago.

In point of truth, however, managing pain in childhood has not always been approached with equal fervor. For any skeptics among the readers, just witness the next neonatal circumcision in your hospital. Avoidance of pain can hardly be