Study objective. To assess the course of chronic benign pain in childhood and adolescence longitudinally. Setting. Cohort of children with chronic pain recruited from the open population. Patients. A cohort of 987 children and adolescents aged 0-18 years with chronic pain (continuous or recurrent pain > 3 months), who were identified in a previous population-based prevalence study, were approached for a two-year follow-up study. Subjects were asked to keep a 3-week diary on their pain and to fill out questionnaires about background factors, pain and pain-related consequences. This assessment was repeated annually for two years. Results. At baseline, 254 subjects reported chronic benign pain; of these, 124 (48%) and 77 (30%) subjects still experienced chronic benign pain at one-year and two-year follow-up, respectively. Except for the estimated pain intensity, which decreased marginally, pain remained stable over the follow-up period. Minor changes occurred in the consequences of pain; the main changes were a decrease of the impact of pain on the child's behavior, social functioning and use of health care. Subjects with persistent pain (9.4%) differed from those with non-persistent pain in frequency, history and location of the pain, emotional problems and their mother's health. Conclusions. Chronic benign pain in childhood and adolescence is common, and seems to persist in a considerable proportion (30-45%), although pain generally does not deteriorate over time.

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European Journal of Pain
Department of Medical Psychology and Psychotherapy

Perquin, C.W, Hunfeld, J.A.M, Hazebroek-Kampschreur, A.A.J.M, van Suijlekom-Smit, L.W.A, Passchier, J, Koes, B.W, & van der Wouden, J.C. (2003). The natural course of chronic benign pain in childhood and adolescence: A two-year population-based follow-up study. European Journal of Pain, 7(6), 551–559. doi:10.1016/S1090-3801(03)00060-0