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Musculoskeletal pain in children and adolescents


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INTRODUCTION: Musculoskeletal (MSK) pain in children and adolescents is responsible for substantial personal impacts and societal costs, but it has not been intensively or systematically researched. This means our understanding of these conditions is limited, and healthcare professionals have little empirical evidence to underpin their clinical practice. In this article we summarise the state of the evidence concerning MSK pain in children and adolescents, and offer suggestions for future research. RESULTS: Rates of self-reported MSK pain in adolescents are similar to those in adult populations and they are typically higher in teenage girls than boys. Epidemiological research has identified conditions such as back and neck pain as major causes of disability in adolescents, and in up to a quarter of cases there are impacts on school or physical activities. A range of physical, psychological and social factors have been shown to be associated with MSK pain report, but the strength and direction of these relationships are unclear. There are few validated instruments available to quantify the nature and severity of MSK pain in children, but some show promise. Several national surveys have shown that adolescents with MSK pain commonly seek care and use medications for their condition. Some studies have revealed a link between MSK pain in adolescents and chronic pain in adults. CONCLUSION: Musculoskeletal pain conditions are often recurrent in nature, occurring throughout the life-course. Attempts to understand these conditions at a time close to their initial onset may offer a better chance of developing effective prevention and treatment strategies.


Dunn. (2016). Musculoskeletal pain in children and adolescents. Brazilian Journal of Physical Therapy, 275 - 284.

Acceptance Date Dec 9, 2015
Publication Date Feb 16, 2016
Journal Brazilian Journal of Physical Therapy
Print ISSN 1413-3555
Publisher Elsevier
Pages 275 - 284
Keywords adolescent, Child, Chronic Pain, Disabled Persons, Female, Humans, Male, Musculoskeletal Pain, Surveys and Questionnaires
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