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This population-based study highlights how very common pain is in children and young people with cerebral palsy. It stresses the importance for health professionals to always ask about it and address it.

Assessments of pain in children and adolescents with cerebral palsy: a retrospective population-based registry study

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This population-based study highlights how very common pain is in children and young people with cerebral palsy. It stresses the importance for health professionals to always ask about it and address it.

Synopsis of resource:

This is a retrospective population based registry study and focuses on a rather underrated aspect of CP management – pain. Majority of children with CP are reported to experience pain and it affects their functioning and participation in daily life. Active screening for pain should thus be part of assessment of CP children. This research article aimed to assess the prevalence and distribution of pain pattern reported by children with CP during a follow-up surveillance programme called CPUP and also significantly, to investigate whether pain was documented in the medical records of the same cohort at the time of their clinical contact. Though pain was assessed using a simple question requiring a yes/no response, the results were comparable with other population based studies that used tools with psychometric properties for pain assessment.

The results emphasise the need for increased awareness amongst health professionals regarding possibility of pain in CP children [more so in those with communication difficulties] and also provides a basis for further research in interventions for effective management of pain.

Key learning outcomes

  • Prevalence of pain in CP increases with age 
  • There is no significant difference in pain distribution as per CP subtype but pain was reported highest in the dyskinetic category and least in hemiplegic category
  • GMFCS and MCS level V were associated with significantly high prevalence of pain
  • There is a need for improved health care for children with CP with focus on pain assessment and effective management

Authors

Lena Westbom, MD, PhD, Assoc. Prof. Lund University 

Lena is a Consultant, specialising in Paediatric neurology and rehabilitation at the Children´s Hospital, Skane University Hospital, SE-22185 Lund, Sweden; 

Her areas of interest are child development, family therapy, clinical epidemiology and statistical analysis.

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