Non-specific musculoskeletal pain in preadolescents. Prevalence & 1-year persistence

A 1-year follow-up study of 1756 third- and fifth-grade
schoolchildren was conducted with a structured pain
questionnaire to assess the prevalence and persistence of
self-reported musculoskeletal pain symptoms and disability
caused by pain. At follow-up, 1626 (92.7%) children
participated in the study. Pain at least once a week persisted
in 270 (52.4%) of the 564 children who reported
musculoskeletal pain at least once a week in at least one part
of the body at baseline.

Of the regional pain symptoms, neck pain had highest persistence
and, in girls, significantly more than in boys. Persistence of pain
was not related to school grade. Widespread pain, determined as
in the criteria for fibromyalgia, was found in 132 children (7.5%) and
persisted in 35 children (29.7%, 95% CI 21.9-38.4) at follow-up.

Disability was more severe in children with pain symptoms in
more than one area. This study showed that about half of the
preadolescents complaining of musculoskeletal pain at least
once a week at baseline had persistent pain symptoms at
follow-up. The prognosis of widespread pain in preadolescents
was almost the same as the previous findings in adults.

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