HEALTH

Children's National Medical Center launches new treatment at new pain clinic

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Ten-year-old Sophia Isacco's leg snapped like Kevin Ware's, when she was hit by a car in 2011.

When she was in her hospital bed recovering, she would scream out if someone touched her leg.

“It's horrible,” says her mother Annie Asacco. “The worst thing you can ever do is see your child in pain like that.”

For kids dealing with intense or chronic pain like Sophia, Children's National Medical Center is launching innovative treatments in a new pain clinic.

Instead of traditional physical therapy, patients play video games.

These treatments don't guarantee a patient will be free of pain, but doctors say by combining them with psychological therapy and medicine., they can lessen the pain and improve the quality of life.

Fourteen-year-old Danica Zimmerman suffers from a neurological condition where minor injuries cause her excruciating pain.

While playing the games, she gets exercise and improves her range of motion - but in a fun, distracting way.

“My pain level decreases when play the games because I relax and more at ease,” she says.

“I think it might help them get better quicker from a functional standpoint,” says Dr. Sarah Rebstock, Medical Director of Pain Management Clinic. “I think it might help them at least get engaged faster in the therapeutic process.”

Doctors also use this first-of-its-kind biofeedback pod bed which measures a patient's heart rate and skin temperature.

It teaches the children ways to take control of their health.

“Kids know when light is red, temperature is too cold and need to relax as they do the light switches red to green,” Rebstock says.

Danica says these therapies, and learning how to change her mindset, has drastically reduced her pain.

“It's nice because it reinforces positive thoughts and I can actually do something ,” she says.

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