Musculoskeletal pain in adults with cerebral palsy compared with the general population

J Rehabil Med. 2004 Mar;36(2):78-84. doi: 10.1080/16501970310018305.


Objective: To examine prevalence and localization of musculo-skeletal pain in adults with cerebral palsy compared with the general population and to investigate variables potentially associated with pain.

Design: A postal survey.

Subjects: Persons with cerebral palsy and no intellectual disabilities, 18 years or more, living in Norway.

Methods: A multidimensional questionnaire, including items on musculo-skeletal pain, was sent to 766 adults with cerebral palsy.

Results: In total 406 persons responded, 49% females and 51% males age range 18-72 years (mean 34 years). All categories of cerebral palsy were represented. Nearly one-third of the adults with cerebral palsy had chronic pain, vs 15% in the general population. Mean scores of domain of bodily pain on Short Form 36 were significantly lower from an earlier age in adults with cerebral palsy. Back pain was the most common in both groups. Pain in adults with cerebral palsy was significantly associated with gender, chronic fatigue, low life satisfaction and deteriorating physical function.

Conclusion: Musculo-skeletal pain is a pronounced problem in adults with cerebral palsy from an early age, and should be addressed specifically in the follow-up programs, and in further clinical studies on potential causal pathways.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cerebral Palsy / complications*
  • Cerebral Palsy / rehabilitation
  • Chronic Disease
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / etiology
  • Norway / epidemiology
  • Pain / epidemiology*
  • Pain / etiology
  • Sex Distribution