| behavioral pain management

Missing School Due to Chronic Pain

School Absences: Identifying Contributing Factors

In the Lancet, Child & Adolescent Health journal, the results of a Canada study of students and pain is discussed. An 11-week cognitive behavioral self-management program, called Chronic Pain 35, addressed therapy for chronic pain and shares the understanding of pain. Unfortunately, students in pain miss school, sometimes a substantial amount. Those who participate in Chronic Pain 35 “are awarded high school credits after attending the full course, completing all related homework, and delivering a conceptual creative final project that demonstrates their learning related to pain that they have gained from the course activities. The curriculum uniquely integrates clinical health within a government education initiative.”

A major contributor to the difficulties of young children in pain, and potentially missing school, is not being believed about their level of pain. The neurobiology and causes of chronic pain are often misunderstood, and children in pain can also have an increase in pain due to the stress of not being believed. Kathy Reid, University of Alberta and Stollery Children’s Hospital, and one of the developers of Chronic Pain 35, commented, “ultimately, society benefits when young people re-engage with their education and all that follows.” Students who graduate from the program make art or write poetry/essays to help represent and make visible their pain to others. Although only currently being used in Alberta, Canada, there is hope it’ll spread to a national and international scale.


Access the journal article, free of charge.