How to Help a Child Who Suffers Autism and Chronic Pain?

How to Help a Child Who Suffers Autism and Chronic Pain?

People in the medical community and parents have long speculated that there may be a link between autism and persistent discomfort.

Some people’s presumption about those with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) is that they don’t experience pain. That there was a qualitative difference in how painful things were for them. This is not true, and it’s great that our society has evolved to better grasp the spectrum.

According to an article published in Psychology Today titled “Autism and Amplified Musculoskeletal Pain Syndrome (AMPS): The involvement of sensory variables and anxiety,” a person’s perception of their own lack of pain may have been influenced by witnessing self-injurious conduct.

It was formerly believed by experts that people with ASD had less pain than the general population.

A common misconception about pain has been dispelled by the research that has been conducted in controlled experimental settings. According to the results of these investigations, it is not true that children on the spectrum do not experience pain.

Instead, they may show their distress in ways that are less obvious to others. There is mounting evidence that people on the autism spectrum not only feel pain but feel it more intensely than the general population, especially when it comes to disabling forms of chronic pain.

How Does Autism Factor into Chronic Pain Experience?

Prevalence of autism features and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder symptoms in a clinical sample of children and adolescents with chronic pain is another intriguing study that investigates the correlation between ASD and ADHD and chronic pain in people of all ages.

Debilitating chronic pain in children, especially girls, may be indicative of a concomitant, possibly high-functioning, neurodevelopmental condition, as suggested in the article. The findings support the need for screening for neurodevelopmental problems as part of the clinical assessment of children with chronic pain.

Inconsistent opinions exist as to whether or not persistent pain is a recognized indication of ASD. As an illness that spans a spectrum, autistic people might experience a wide range of symptoms.

Research linking chronic pain patients with lower executive function skills is presented in the aforementioned article, Prevalence of autism features and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder symptoms in a clinical sample of children and adolescents with chronic pain.

It also notes that functional deficits and psychological illnesses like sadness and anxiety can both be associated with pediatric chronic pain.

Researchers have found connections between ASD and ADHD and chronic pain symptoms like the stomach and/or abdominal discomfort and headaches by studying how the brain’s neuropsychological functions are affected.

However, unless there is a definitive and consistent technique of measuring pain, the conclusions of a relationship remain uncertain because these illnesses might go undiagnosed among pediatric patients.

How Can You Tell When an Autistic Child feels Pain?

Keeping the aforementioned information in mind, how can you tell if your autistic child is experiencing discomfort?

You should keep an eye out for and respond to the following:

  • Alterations in behavior and/or disposition, which may suggest pain
  • Think about the person’s way of conveying emotions and use visual aids if they are accessible if they have autism.
  • If the individual needs alternative means of expression, you should encourage them to use them.
  • If you are worried that your child is in pain, it is important to talk to his or her doctor and keep an open line of communication about your worries.

Amplified musculoskeletal pain syndrome (AMPS) is also discussed in the Psychology Today piece. As described by the American College of Rheumatology, this illness encompasses a wide range of musculoskeletal aches that are not caused by inflammation.

The following are the symptoms and distinguishing features of AMPS:

●       Constant, excruciating agony

●       It’s possible to feel the discomfort in just one spot, or it could radiate.

●       Fatigue and impaired mental performance are symptoms of insufficient sleep.

●       Pain exacerbation by exposure to light (Allodynia)

According to the American Psychiatric Association, melancholy and anxiety can amplify pain in certain people. The anxiety experienced by many people on the autism spectrum should be taken into consideration.

How Can You Help?

Your child should be evaluated by a medical professional if you suspect he or she is in the discomfort of any kind.

Even if a doctor or nurse says your child is in no discomfort, it’s best to have them looked out for anyhow. It is usually a good idea to get a second opinion if you are not confident in the initial diagnosis.

Your kid’s doctor can arrange therapies to alleviate the pain of any kind (including chronic pain) in order to make your child more comfortable.

Maintaining an open line of communication with your kid’s physician may result in the development of a pain management regimen for your child, which may involve the use of medication.

The doctor may also send the patient to a chiropractor or other health care provider who specializes in pain management or make additional therapeutic interventions available.

A Glimpse of Hope for Managing Chronic Pain

The level of pain that may be tolerated varies from person to person. Sometimes it’s hard to tell how much suffering an autistic kid is in.

Diagnosis is key to moving forward and developing a treatment plan, whether a child has intermittent, severe pain due to autism or another illness such as AMPS syndrome.

Every responsible parent wishes the best for their offspring. Making a plan to alleviate a child’s suffering is a huge achievement.


For more information on chronic pain management, pain disorders, chronic pain resources, psychogenic pain, effective chronic pain treatment options, or other physical therapy, you should book a consultation session with a specialist at Chronic Therapy today, give you professional advice that will suit your personal experience.

Also, for people with chronic pain who are constantly worried about how to treat chronic pain or get their chronic pain treated, our specialists at Chronic Therapy have made huge success over the year in recommending reliable resources to manage chronic pain from nerve pain or any other developing chronic pain conditions.

More to read: How to Ease Stroke-Related Chronic Pain

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