Episode5 Segment 2 - Why do I need to go to school when I'm in pain?
Fast Fact 1
Staying at home
will not make
the pain go away
Fast Fact 2
A graded return to
will help you
get into a routine
Sometimes people your age have trouble attending school. They may feel that they can manage their pain better at home, or that their pain makes them too sick to learn. Some people think that they need to get rid of their pain, before they can go to school. This is not true.
Staying at home
- will not make the pain go away
- it may actually make the pain worse
Research findings suggest that adolescents with chronic pain who regularly attend school have better outcomes than those who don’t. Pain levels, mood, school performance, and social skills have all been shown to improve when students with chronic pain stay in the routine of going to school.
Benefits of going to school:
- Spending time with your friends
- Having fun
- Learning new things
- Developing skills to help you now and in the future
- Distraction from thinking about the pain
The benefits of attending school are so important that the government in Australia has made it compulsory – it is the law for kids to be enrolled and attend.
If you have missed a lot of school recently, you will need to sit down with your parents or caregivers and plan a return to school program with your school. This plan will need to include set start times (e.g. the regular start time of school) and set finish times.
If you have missed a lot of school, you may need to start with five half-days for a couple of weeks and gradually increase this to full days. This graded approach is a type of pacing. Do not go two or three full days and then have the remaining days off sick with your pain. It is much better to do a little every day of the week and keep a routine.
Once you have agreed the times with your parents or caregivers and school, the times should not be changed. You should stay at school for the specified time. Gradually your time at school and in class should increase.