Publication: Prevalence of self‐reported chronic pain among adolescents: evidence from 42 countries and regions

Research Impact: Young adolescents between the age of 11-15y is a time for much physical, psychological and social change. Chronic pain is an important factor among young adolescents. The types of pain can be in a single site, such as headache, stomache-ache, backache, as well as combined. The occurrence of multi-site pain may be an indicator further symptoms of poor health and this would have implications to clinical and public health.  Furthermore in this study of 214,283 young adolescents in 42 participating countries in the WHO collaborative cross-national Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) study, analysis was carried out to see how varied pain is among adolescents. Headaches were reported the most, followed by chronic backache, with the lowest reported chronic pain as stomache-ache. However, one in five young adolescents reported to have experienced chronic multi-site pain at least weekly in the past 6 months.   There were differences across the countries from 13.2% in Armenia to 33.8% in Israel, although no geographic pattern had emerged. More girls report more pain symptoms than boys, and the prevalence of at least weekly pain during the last six months increased with age. The results of the study are in line with meta-analyses in chronic pain. Moreover, the reported symptoms from chronic pain, such as lower quality of life, more levels of anxiety and depression, and restrictions to participation in other activities, are similar to the issues that adolescents tend to get from being physically inactive. Therefore, more investigation in this suggestion needs further studying.

Gobina, I., Villberg, J., Välimaa, R., Tynjälä, J., Whitehead, R., Cosma, A., Brooks, F., Cavallo, F., Ng, K., Gaspar de Matos, M. and Villerusa, A., 2018. Prevalence of self‐reported chronic pain among adolescents: evidence from 42 countries and regions. European Journal of Pain.  DOI:10.1002/ejp.1306

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