Pain in adults with cerebral palsy: impact and solutions

Dev Med Child Neurol. 2009 Oct:51 Suppl 4:113-21. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8749.2009.03423.x.


Studies of health in adults with cerebral palsy (CP) have identified pain as a significant concern. Investigations regarding incidence, intensity, and location in adults with CP found that increasing age and inactivity appeared to be related to pain. Activity and participation in adults with CP seem to be only moderately affected by presence of pain. Various sources of pain have been identified in adults with CP but have not been well studied. These include orthopedic issues, poor bone mineral density and related fractures, dental and jaw problems, and nutrition-related pain. Limited healthcare utilization studies suggest that adults with CP use healthcare services, especially preventative and rehabilitative services less, and do not consult physicians regarding pain. Medication solutions for chronic pain are not well studied. Botulinum toxin and intrathecal baclofen have been demonstrated to minimize pain; however, the impact of other medications needs further investigation. Other interventions for pain include small studies examining the use of biofeedback and exercise. Larger studies are needed to establish effectiveness. In order to prevent future generations of adults with CP from experiencing high levels of pain, environmental sources of pain need more specific study, as do interventions that are affordable and easily accessed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Cerebral Palsy / physiopathology*
  • Cerebral Palsy / therapy*
  • Child
  • Chronic Disease
  • Environment
  • Humans
  • Motor Activity
  • Pain / physiopathology*
  • Pain Management*
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care