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Chronic Pain/Headaches

Chronic Pain/Headaches

Chronic Pain

Chronic pain is a frustrating problem, especially when you don’t know what is causing it. Too often, patients are told “we can’t help you” or “I don’t see anything wrong” or even “it’s all in your head.”

That’s not what patients hear when they see Dayton Children’s neurologist Daniel Lacey, MD. Dr. Lacey specializes in chronic pediatric pain management and works closely with other specialists at Dayton Children’s to establish an accurate diagnosis and develop a comprehensive treatment plan.

Dr. Lacey focuses on helping patients manage pain so that they can participate in normal activities, such as school, sports and friendships. He helps patients develop strong coping skills for pain management, which can include everything from yoga to massage to relaxation techniques. Sometimes, Dr. Lacey will prescribe pain medication, such as nerve blocks, but medication is just one component of the treatment plan.

Depending on your child’s needs, Dr. Lacey may make a referral to other clinicians, such as a psychiatrist, child life specialist, physical therapist or dietitian. When possible, we connect patients with older kids who have dealt successfully with chronic pain. There is hope!

Dr. Lacey sees patients for problems such as chronic pain related to headaches or migraines in kids and teens, disorders of the spine, irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia and other conditions. Sometimes, patients are admitted to the hospital for testing and observation.


Headache Clinic

Migraine and tension type headaches are the most commonly seen primary headaches in children and adolescents. Migraines tend to have an inherited component so often times there is a history among family members. About 10 percent of children and adolescents suffer from migraines. They are generally more severe than tension type headaches and usually occur with nausea and vomiting.

  • Headaches are a common and potentially disabling problem for children and teens.

  • Some headaches may have no identifiable or obvious cause, as in the case of migraine headaches, or they may be caused by another condition, such as sinusitis, a virus, something in their environment that they may be sensitive to, or even an abnormality in the brain. Headaches usually run in families.

  • Some headache-related symptoms include nausea, vomiting, light and noise sensitivity, and sometimes, lightheadedness.

  • Although many headaches and related disorders may not be a serious health concern, they can result in other problems, such as social dysfunction and school absenteeism, which can have a great impact on the quality of life for the child and family.

  • Stress, poor sleep, dehydration, and other issues such as depression and anxiety all can influence headaches.

Our multidisciplinary approach to headaches

The headache clinic at Dayton Children’s hospital focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of headache disorders in children and adolescents. Treatment is offered both in inpatient and outpatient settings and is tailored to each child’s individual needs. A wide variety of treatment alternatives are also offered, which may include medications, non-medication behavioral techniques, complementary therapies, injections or a combination.

  • Specialists in our headache clinic have the expertise necessary to treat those headaches and help patients meet their potential to live a life uninterrupted by pain.

  • Patients being evaluated in our comprehensive headache clinic are typically seen by a physician and/or pediatric nurse practitioner specializing in headache management.

  • Depending on the child’s age and needs, they may be seen by a pain psychologist with special expertise in cognitive behavioral therapy and biofeedback/relaxation therapy related to headache management, a nutritionist, and a physical therapist.


Criteria for headache clinic referral:

  • 10 years old or older
  • have had significant headaches for over a year
  • have tried at least two preventive headache medications without success

This clinic will be staffed by Dr. Daniel Lacey, Elizabeth Medaugh PNP , Sara Adducchio PNP, and Cindy Brown DNP. Dietitian Alison Ruffin, RD, LD and two pain psychologists are also part of the team. Sarah MacDonald RN is the resource nurse. 

If you wish to send a referral to the headache clinic, please send a referral to neurology specifying ‘headache clinic referral’ in the comment section. You can also send an e-mail to Sarah MacDonald at or call her at 937-641-3497.




Contact Us


A physician referral is necessary prior to the child’s first outpatient visit. All follow up appointments will be made during your clinic visit or by calling central scheduling.



MyKidsChart makes it easy for you to stay in touch with your child’s care team, view your child’s medication information and receive important health reminders by email.

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Make a referral

Phone: 937-641-4000
Fax referral forms: 937-641-4500, 24 hours
Toll-free fax: 1-866-891-6941
Hours: 7:30 am to 6:00 pm, Monday through Friday

Download our fax referral form or make a referral online.



The Children's Medical Center of Dayton Dayton Children's
The Right Care for the Right Reasons

One Children's Plaza - Dayton, Ohio - 45404-1815