TV Eases Pain--But Causes It, Too

It seems that TV can help alleviate the pain of kids who are ill. This concept seems to go against current thinking; the electronic elixir is also known to be at the root of some modern maladies.

A new study from Italy suggests that TV cartoons, in particular, may help sick children cope with pain, hospitals and shots. The study suggests cartoons may even do even a better job than Mom at helping kids deal with illness.

But how did that kid get there? What if that he or she was overweight from watching too much TV to begin with, didn't get enough exercise and got sick?

What do doctors suggest then? A little TV? Yep. One doctor said, according to the Associated Press, "Distraction is a very powerful tool."

This only works well, the study says, when TV is a passive tool--not when kids are asked to interact with TV programs.



The study says parents' soothing attempts to control their children's pain may be overrated. At those moments, kids think they really must be seriously sick for their parents to respond with calming efforts. Thus their pain levels climb.

It's sort of hard to take these studies too seriously--especially if real pain is around, and real medication is needed beyond those moments of TV viewing. Does someone really think, when kids or anyone else is in pain, it's time to turn on the TV? Well, maybe for a fleeting minute.

When conversations get serious in a hospital, it's good to have TV in the background, I guess, as a diversionary soundtrack. Cancer patients who watch sitcoms can be distracted, while kids can be distracted to a greater degree.

What wasn't addressed was when TV programming is painful in itself. Who then relieves the pain? Sleepy TV can also do the job. But if you are already in pain--in a hospital--perhaps Demerol and just gazing into space is a better alternative.

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