Episode 102: When Children Feel Pain with Dr. Anna Wilson and Rachel Rabkin Peachman

One out of five children in the US suffers chronic pain.

From the prick of a vaccine to stomach pain, headaches, and chronic pain conditions like fibromyalgia, children’s pain is being undertreated. Today, Tami is joined by Dr. Anna Wilson and Rachel Rabkin Peachman to discuss the research on pediatric pain and simple ways you can help children manage their pain. Anna and Rachel are the authors of When Children Feel Pain: From Everyday Aches to Chronic Conditions, a powerful book that covers a wide range of pain-related topics in children.

In this conversation, Tami, Rachel, and Anna discuss why Rachel and Anna became interested in researching children’s pain, how they first found each other and connected over their overlapping pursuits, limitations of the ACEs (adverse childhood experiences) framework, the increasing cultural awareness of the impact of medical trauma, what research shows about non-verbal signs of pain in babies and infants, the problem with clinicians relying on physiological pain symptoms alone, shocking statistics on the number of children having chronic pain, how Anna and Rachel are hoping to improve the long-term outcomes for children feeling pain, the horrifying stories of babies in recent history getting surgery without anesthesia, how long it takes for breakthroughs in research to move into practice, teaching kids the tools to cope with pain through needle pricks, Tami’s insights from the way her body reacted to the traumatic stories shared in When Children Feel Pain, what research shows about babies’ bodies storing the memories of painful events, the non-genetic connection between kids and parents with chronic pain, how parents can create empowering messaging around pain for their children, why coaching is so helpful for navigating these situations, resources for parents with kids dealing with pain, why it’s crucial to manage your child’s pain, the issue of diagnostic uncertainty, tools parents can use, Rachel and Anna’s messages of hope for parents and children living with chronic pain, and more.

As someone who felt alone as a child in pain, Tami believes anyone who influences young lives can benefit from reading the book. While it’s a hard truth to read in places, it’s also full of hope and offers practical suggestions for what we can do to change the future.

Each exposure to pain builds on the last, and it’s never too late to course-correct.

Note: This episode is not meant to be medical advice. Every person and every situation is unique. The information you learn in this episode should be shared and discussed with your own healthcare providers.

About Rachel Rabkin Peachman

Rachel Rabkin Peachman is a seasoned journalist and author specializing in health, science, and family. She has written for a wide range of publications such as The New York Times, Consumer Reports, Prevention, and The Washington Post. She is also the co-author of When Children Feel Pain: From Everyday Aches to Chronic Conditions (Harvard University Press, 2022). Rachel has been a staff health editor at magazines including Hearst’s Healthy Living, Family Circle, Parents, and Parenting. Most recently, she was a deputy of special projects at Consumer Reports. Her work has won the Deadline Club Award for magazine investigative reporting and been a finalist for the National Magazine Award in public interest journalism. A graduate of the University of Michigan and Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, Rachel lives in New Jersey with her husband and two children.

Connect with Rachel through her website or social media:
Twitter: @RachelPeachman
Instagram: @RachelPeachman
FB: Facebook.com/rachel.rabkin.peachman
Website: RachelRabkinPeachman.com

About Dr. Anna Wilson

Anna C. Wilson is a pediatric psychologist and Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Oregon Health & Science University, where she works on the prevention and treatment of chronic pain in children and adolescents. Her research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health and the American Pain Society. Anna is also the co-author of When Children Feel Pain: From Everyday Aches to Chronic Conditions (Harvard University Press, 2022). She earned her doctorate in psychology from the University of Washington and lives in Oregon with her husband and three children.

Book on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/0674185021/

Links & Resources

More from Tami

Listener Shoutout

“Tami has fibromyalgia herself so she “gets us”!! Highly recommend working with her or any of the coaches she’s trained. 💕”

~ Wendy Stone

Play Video