Amplified Musculoskeletal Pain Syndrome Program (Pediatric)
What is Amplified Musculoskeletal Pain Syndrome (AMPS)?
Patients with amplified musculoskeletal pain syndrome (AMPS) have chronic pain in their muscles, joints, or other parts of their body. In AMPS, this pain occurs without any underlying injury or inflammation. AMPS pain can be widespread or “whole body” pain, and in this form it is often called fibromyalgia. AMPS pain also can be localized to a specific part of the body, in which case it is sometimes called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). Patients with AMPS often have additional symptoms, including headaches, abdominal pain irritable bowel symptoms, fatigue, poor sleep, and anxiety.
What Causes AMPS?
The cause of AMPS is not well understood. Experts think that in patients with AMPS, the part of the brain and the nerves that sense pain are “switched on,” even when there is no physical cause for pain. This chronic pain sensing and processing may lead to “pain amplification,” a condition where pain becomes more severe over time.
How is AMPS Treated?
Treatment for children and adolescents with AMPS may include the following:
Daily aerobic and cardiovascular exercise
Physical therapy/occupational therapy
Psychology evaluation to address coping techniques and for patient/family education on behavioral pain management
Treatment with medications is generally not recommended for pediatric AMPS.
The main goals of AMPS treatment are to improve the child’s ability to participate in daily activities and to decrease the severity of the pain. Functional improvement often occurs first and then is followed by reduction of pain.
About the Columbia Pediatric AMPS Program
The Columbia Pediatric AMPS program is the only dedicated pediatric AMPS program in New York City and is directed by Alexis Boneparth, MD, a pediatric rheumatologist with expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of AMPS.
As part of the Columbia Pediatric AMPS Program, we carefully evaluate the patient’s symptoms and medical history and determine if a diagnosis of AMPS is appropriate. AMPS is diagnosed by recognizing the characteristic clinical signs and symptoms of chronic muscle and joint pain, as well as ruling out any other identifiable cause for these symptoms.
For patients with AMPS, we develop a comprehensive and patient-centered treatment plan. We can refer patients to CUMC/New York Presbyterian physical therapists, occupational therapists, and psychologists who are experienced in the evaluation and treatment of pediatric AMPS. Additionally, we provide regular reevaluation and assess the patient’s response to treatment. For patients who are not experiencing improvement with outpatient treatment, we can help coordinate referral to an inpatient or day-treatment program for AMPS.
Contact Us for an Appointment
Director: Alexis Boneparth, MD