There is strong evidence showing that individuals who experienced chronic pain during childhood have chronic pain as adults, but few studies have evaluated the characteristics of pain that persists from childhood through adult years. Researchers from the University of Michigan found that one in six adult pain patients had pain as children or adolescents, and their pain was widespread and neuropathic with psychological comorbidities and decreased function. The findings were reported in The Journal of Pain, a publication of the American Pain Society.
For the study, more than 1,000 patients 18 years and older were evaluated and asked about pain, family history, physical and psychological limitations and treatment history. They also were asked about childhood pain. The authors hypothesized that adult patients who reported having pain in childhood are more likely to experience pain of greater severity that is neuropathic in nature and meets clinical criteria for a diagnosis of fibromyalgia.
Results showed that one in six new adult pain patients said they had a history of chronic pain in childhood and they were predominantly young females. Their pain tended to be more widespread, and neuropathic, likely fibromyalgia, in contrast with subjects who denied having childhood pain. Patients who experienced childhood pain also showed higher levels of anxiety and worse functional status.
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