Pain in children with cerebral palsy: common triggers and expressive behaviors

Pain. 2002 Sep;99(1-2):281-8. doi: 10.1016/s0304-3959(02)00123-9.


To obtain parents' identification and description of the behaviors, health care procedures and daily living situations associated with pain in children with cerebral palsy (CP), surveys were sent to parents of children with CP recruited via a clinic case list and a parents' newsletter. Forty-three parents completed the survey. Results indicated that children's ability to communicate pain verbally did not influence whether or not their parent reported observing pain. Most children (67%) were reported to have displayed pain within the month prior to rating. All pain behaviors on the Non-Communicating Children's Pain Checklist (Dev Med Child Neurol 40 (1998) 340) were endorsed by some parents, and few additional pain behaviors were identified, suggesting that this instrument adequately samples the pain behavior of children with CP. Assisted stretching was the daily living activity most frequently identified as painful by parents (93% of those reporting pain), and the one with the highest mean pain intensity. Needle injection (40%) was the medical and nursing procedure most frequently identified by parents as painful for their children. Range of motion manipulation was the therapy most frequently identified as painful by parents (58%), and the one with the highest mean intensity. Parents are able to observe pain in their children with CP regardless of the child's verbal fluency. Knowledge of behaviors and painful situations identified by parents can facilitate management of pain in children with CP.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cerebral Palsy / complications*
  • Cerebral Palsy / psychology*
  • Child
  • Child Behavior*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Communication
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Pain / diagnosis
  • Pain / psychology*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Parents
  • Perception
  • Surveys and Questionnaires