Aim: The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence of pain and characteristics of pain (frequency, duration, intensity) among children and adolescents and to compare them across different age and gender groups.
Methods: 735 children and adolescents aged 10-18 y from schools in the Luebeck region of Germany were surveyed using a modified German version of the self-completion pain questionnaire of Perquin and co-workers.
Results: 715 out of 735 questionnaires (97.3%) were returned completed. Pain during the preceding 3 mo was reported by 85.3% (n = 610) of the respondent children and adolescents. The prevalence of pain increased with age. The most common complaints were headache (65.6%), abdominal pain (47.7%), limb pain (46.4%) and back pain (38.6%). A pain duration of longer than 3 mo was reported by 45.5% (35.4% for longer than 6 mo). Pain once a week or more frequently was reported by 33.7% of children and adolescents.
Conclusion: Almost half of the surveyed children and adolescents had suffered complaints for longer than 3 mo. The experience of pain in general and especially pain with a duration of longer than 3 mo is very common in children and adolescents, and requires further attention. Further studies are necessary to investigate the natural course, functional implications and prognosis due to pain complaints in children and adolescents.