The objective of this study was to compare the reactions to experimental cold pressor pain of Juvenile Arthritis (JA) patients, healthy children, and their parents.
Methods: We compared pain threshold, discomfort, intensity, and tolerance to experimental cold pressor pain in 15 JA patients (age 9-15) and one of their parents and a control group of 25 healthy children (age 9-12) and one of their parents.
Results: JA-patients exhibited significantly lower mean pain tolerance than healthy children. Pain tolerance correlated significantly with disease duration. Parents of JA-patients showed significantly greater mean pain intensity than parents of healthy children, and had higher estimates of their child's ability to endure pain than parents of healthy children. Correlations were found between pain scores of children and their parents for both pain intensity and tolerance. The pain coping category of Catastrophizing was associated with several of the experimental pain response measures.
Conclusion: The results suggest that JA patients may differ from healthy children with regard to their responses to experimental pain, and that pain responses of both JA patients and healthy children could be related to the pain response of their parents.