Together for Short Lives
Call the Helpline 0808 8088 100

Pain in youths with neuromuscular disease

Publication year
Engel, J. M.; Kartin, D.; Carter, G. T.; Jensen, M. P.; Jaffe, K. M.

To examine the prevalence and characteristics of pain in children with neuromuscular disease (NMD), 42 youths with NMD underwent a comprehensive evaluation including a detailed intake interview and structured questionnaire that included demographic and functional data. Youths who reported chronic pain were further queried about pain characteristics, locations, and intensity using an 11-point numerical rating scale and a modified Brief Pain Inventory (BPI). The sample consisted of 24 males (57%) and 18 females (43%), ages ranging from 9 to 20 years (M = 14.8, SD = 2.96). Participants included 14 (37%) with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, 6 (14%) with myotonic dystrophy, 2 (5%) with Becker dystrophy, 2 (5%) with limb-girdle dystrophy, 2 (5%) with congenital muscular dystrophy, 1 (2%) facioscapulohumeral, and 15 (36%) were classified as ”other NMD.” Twenty-one (50%) were ambulatory; 26 (62%) used power wheelchairs/scooters, 9 (2%) used manual wheelchairs, 3 (.07%) used crutches/canes, and 1 (2%) used a walker. A total of 23 (55%) of the youths reported having chronic pain. Current pain intensity was 1.30 (range = 0-6), mean pain intensity over the past week was 2.39 (range = 0-7), mean pain duration was 8.75 hours (SD = 12.84). Pain in the legs was most commonly reported and 83% reported using pain medications. This study indicates that chronic pain is a significant problem in youths with NMD. These data strongly support making comprehensive pain assessment and management an integral part of the standard of care for youths with NMD.

Research abstracts