Natural Pain Relief for Children

In a recently released study about the use of Complimentary and Alternative medicine (CAM) in children with pain in the United States, accumulated data represents that CAM is frequently used by children with pain in the USA and many parents report benefits for their child’s symptoms. The physicians evaluated data from the 2012 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) to estimate patterns, predictors, and perceived benefits of CAM use among children 4–17 years of age with and without painful conditions in the US.


  • Parents reported that 26.6% of children had pain conditions (e.g. headache, abdominal, musculoskeletal pain) in the past year; of these children, 21.3% used CAM.
  • In contrast only 8.1% of children without pain conditions used CAM 
  • CAM use among children with pain was associated with female sex, higher income  and presence of 4+ comorbidities which are other illnesses besides pain - like diabetes, heart conditions, immune deficiencies. 
  • Among children with pain who used CAM the 2 most commonly used CAM modalities were biologically–based therapies (47.3%) (e.g., special diets and herbal supplements) and manipulative or body–based therapies (46.3%) (e.g., chiropractic and massage and craniosacral therapy.

The take-away message is that, with the right supervision from a health practitioner knowledgeable about CAM, children suffering from pain can find relief without the use of typical medications prescribed such as ibuprofen, steroids and acetaminophen. Please discuss with your practitioner before altering your child's health care practices but be sure to ask what might be an option.

Natalie Geary