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In search of risk factors for chronic pain in adolescents: a case–control study of childhood and parental associations

Authors Coenders A, Chapman C, Hannaford P, Jaaniste T, Qiu W, Anderson D, Glogauer M, Goodison-Farnsworth E, McCormick M, Champion D

Received 13 May 2013

Accepted for publication 17 August 2013

Published 27 March 2014 Volume 2014:7 Pages 175—183

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/JPR.S48154

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2


Alies Coenders,1 Cindy Chapman,2 Patricia Hannaford,3 Tiina Jaaniste,2,3 Wen Qiu,2 David Anderson,2 Maline Glogauer,2 Evelyn Goodison-Farnsworth,2 Marianne McCormick,2 David Champion2,3

1University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands; 2Department of Anaesthesia and Pain Medicine, Sydney Children's Hospital, Randwick, NSW, Australia; 3University of New South Wales, Kensington, NSW, Australia

Objectives: This study was designed to investigate whether an individual and parental history of functional pain syndromes (FPS) is found more often in adolescents suffering from chronic pain than in their pain-free peers.
Methods: Our case–control study involved 101 adolescents aged 10–18 years. Cases were 45 patients of the Chronic Pain Clinic at Sydney Children's Hospital with diverse chronic pain disorders. Controls consisted of 56 adolescent volunteers who did not have chronic pain. Adolescents and their parents filled out questionnaires assessing demographic data as well as known and potential risk factors for chronic pain. A history of FPS was assessed by questionnaire, including restless legs syndrome (RLS). Chi-squared tests and t-tests were used to investigate univariate associations between chronic pain in adolescents and lifetime prevalence of FPS. Logistic regression was used to test multivariate associations, while controlling for possible confounders.
Results: Migraine, non-migraine headaches, recurrent abdominal pain (RAP), and RLS were reported significantly more frequently in cases than controls (P-values of 0.01, <0.001, 0.01, and 0.03, respectively). Parental migraine, RAP, and RLS were also significantly associated with adolescent chronic pain in the multivariate analyses. Individual history of migraine, non-migraine headaches, and RAP, along with parental history of RAP and depression significantly accounted for 36%–49% of variance in chronic pain. Other associations with chronic pain were generally in accordance with previous reports.
Discussion: It may be helpful when assessing a child who has chronic pain or is at risk of chronic pain, to enquire about these associations. Based on the current findings, an individual history of migraine, non-migraine headaches, and RAP, as well as parental migraine, RAP, and RLS are symptoms that are of particular relevance to assess.

Keywords: chronic adolescent pain, functional pain syndromes, restless legs syndrome, adolescents, parental history

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