Adolescent POTS Program - Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

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Adolescent POTS Management Program

POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome)

POTS involves problems with the autonomic nervous system, the part of the nervous system responsible for control of the bodily functions that are not consciously directed, such as breathing, heartbeat, and digestive processes. Diagnosis focuses on the presence of abnormally high heart rate upon standing, but there may be other symptoms, including blood pressure changes, fatigue, headaches, lightheadedness, nausea, shortness of breath and pain. A number of underlying conditions are known to be associated with POTS, including autoimmune diseases, Chiari malformation, and Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. Treatment includes increasing fluid intake to 2-3 liters per day, increasing salt consumption to 3000 to 10,000 mg per day, a graduated series of exercises, and medications. With appropriate changes in lifestyle, many patients can see a decrease in their symptoms and an increase in their quality of life.

RIC’s Center for Pain Management Adolescent Program provides comprehensive evaluation and treatment of POTS patients

Return to Everyday Activities

Mission: Participants will gain skills needed to manage POTS by learning coping strategies and maximizing their functional ability by participating in physical, occupational, biofeedback relaxation and cognitive behavioral therapies. Our goal is that each participant return to school and previous extracurricular and peer activities.

POTS may change how your body feels, how you think, sleep, and may affect your appetite. It may also interfere with your ability to attend school, participate in sports and spend time with friends.

The experience of POTS in adolescents is often emotionally and physically debilitating, affecting the entire family. Our integrated,

interdisciplinary program focuses on the dynamic association between the biologic, psychosocial and cultural uniqueness of each participant and family and how these factor into the POTS experience.

The RIC Adolescent Pain Management program is committed to helping you treat POTS related symptoms with various techniques and medications while helping you restore your functional well-being through exercise and biofeedback relaxation. Educational groups and individual sessions will you help reinforce long lasting self management skills.

Promoting Positive Physical and Emotional Coping Skills through Self Management 

You and your family will be at the center of your individualized management program.  This integrative program will provide you with all the resources to better manage your POTS while coordinating with your pediatrician and/or referring physician and school counselor.  We use the most current evidence-based medicine and effective treatments available. 

You will attend one to four half-days per week for up to eight weeks as determined by your progress in our program.  Your treatment team may consist of the following:

  • Physiatrist (rehabilitation doctor)
  • Cognitive Behavioral Psychologist
  • Physical Therapist
  • Occupational  Therapist
  • Rehabilitation Nurse

Participants benefit from an integrated interdisciplinary program that provides:

  • Physical and Occupational  Therapy that will help increase your strength and endurance and return you to the physical activities you enjoy
  • An understanding of how your emotions and the POTS are connected, and help you learn to manage your pain more effectively
  • Individual and group based training of relaxation techniques and movement therapy, homework and a home exercise program.
  • Family centered counseling and education to help your family understand your treatment, by identifying the emotional and psychological consequences of POTS
  • An integrated plan that will help you successfully return to  school

Making an Appointment

We work with patients and their physicians to quickly and easily take consultations and schedule patients for treatment.

You can contact the RIC Center for Pain Management at 312.238.7800 to schedule an initial evaluation.

Evaluation and treatment for POTS is exclusively provided at the 980 N Michigan Avenue location.