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Pain in children with cerebral palsy: a cross-sectional multicentre European study


K Parkinson, Human Nutrition Research Centre, Institute of Health and Society, Room M1
151, 1st Floor William Leech Building, Framlington Place, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 4HH, UK. Tel: +44 191 2223828 |
Fax: +44 191 2225581 |


Aim:  To determine the prevalence and associations of self-reported and parent-reported pain in children with cerebral palsy (CP) of all severities.

Method:  Cross-sectional design using a questionnaire; analysis using ordinal regression. Children aged 8–12 years were randomly selected from population-based registers of children with CP in eight European regions; a further region recruited 75 children from multiple sources. Outcome measures were pain in the previous week among children who could self-report and parents’ perception of their child’s pain in the previous 4 weeks.

Results:  Data on pain were available from 490 children who could self-report and parents of 806 children (those who could and could not self-report). The estimated population prevalence of self-reported pain in the previous week was 60% (95% CI: 54–65%) and that of parent-reported pain in the previous 4 weeks was 73% (95% CI: 69–76%). In self-reporting children, older children reported more pain but pain was not significantly associated with severity of impairment. In parent reports, severity of child impairment, seizures and parental unemployment were associated with more frequent and severe pain.

Conclusion:  Pain in children with CP is common. Clinicians should enquire about pain and consider appropriate physical, therapeutic or psychological management.

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