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Study: 1 In 4 With Cerebral Palsy In Pain


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Many children and teens with cerebral palsy are struggling with chronic pain, researchers say, but it often goes unrecognized and untreated.

More than 25 percent of young people with cerebral palsy have moderate to severe chronic pain that limits their activities, researchers report this month in the journal Pediatrics. The most common causes cited were hip dislocation and dystonia.

The findings come from a study looking at more than 250 individuals ages 3 to 19 with cerebral palsy. Physicians, primary caregivers and, when possible, the individuals themselves responded to questionnaires about their experiences with pain.

“This study has underlined the importance of asking every child with CP about their pain levels,” said Melanie Penner, a fellow in developmental pediatrics at the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital in Toronto who worked on the research.

With communication challenges and a variety of possible triggers in many with cerebral palsy, assessing the impact of pain on this population has often proven difficult, the researchers said. Accordingly, they indicated that clinicians need to be aware of common causes of pain and be proactive about treating it.

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Comments (13 Responses)

  1. Donna C. May says:

    I am adult with Cerebral Palsy and I experience pain often! I have to take pain medication when I first get up in the morning and throughout the day. By the way…I’m 51 yrs. old so I don’t think that age is a factor in this. My pain stems from my cervical spine where I have had neurosurgery before.

  2. Cindy Scott Day says:

    My daughter had hip pain for one year – the year that her orthotist thought she might try going without a leg brace. She pleaded with me to take her back to him within the year, her hips bothered her so much. He deduced that she was having to swing her affected leg to the side ever-so-slightly in order to clear her toes. That’s when she got her first Toe-Off brace. She’s worn one ever since – eleven years now. And no more hip pain.

  3. Jakki says:

    My daughter is 25 and the older she gets the more pain she experiences in her back and knees. :<(

  4. Anna Winter says:

    I am 52 years old,born this way C.P. It doesn’t get better.I pray you have excellent family or friends.. who understand.I don’t get to have surgry,shots in the neck and back.I pray I don’t twist the wrong way of trip or fall.

  5. Tara says:

    I live with chronic pain as an adult and it started very young. There’s nothing that seems to be real effective in treating my pain issues.

  6. Leticia Gomez says:

    I am a 50 year old woman. I too have Cerebral Palsy, and other issues. I’m saddened to hear that other people who have CP also have Chronic Pain as I do. I know now that I’m not alone.

  7. Kieran says:

    I have CP and have been in Pain for the majority of the last 22 years. I’m 37. I take anti inflammatories but I don’t take pain meds since I can neither work nor take care of my child like that.

  8. Christina L. Remien says:

    I’m a 42 year old woman, born with CP. Two years ago, I had a total hip replacement, which followed a second a year later (same hip). For the better part of 2013, my hip pain cain came back. The last Orthopaedic doctor I seen performed numerous tests and determined that the cause of my new hip pain was due to my CP. She told me look for a CP specialiist, to which I can’t find. I live in South Florida. I was wondering if anyone out ther could possibly help me out. Thank you.

  9. hdemic says:

    Ive come to the conclusion that most of these orthopedic surgeons don’t give a crap and that’s why its a crap shoot of how successful surgery is. They do exactly the same surgery on every cerebral palsy person with very poor follow up to see what has worked. Surgeons do not map out your body. Its whatever the standard is and change is very very slow. Orthopedic surgeons only look at x-rays. Your bones. That works for broken bones. There is a lot more to it with symptoms of cerebral palsy and if they don’t look close enough its usually a failure.

  10. Jennifer says:

    I am 41 I have had CP since birth, I have chronic hop back and leg pain. It seems that Dr.s have no idea how to treat anyone with CO good the pain a Dr started me on vicadin about 3 years ago I take it as prescribed or as needed and it has helped greatly, the problem now is I have a new Dr that won’t prescribe that so what is an alternative that works? I have tried Motrin 800 and all the other otc meds nothing released the pain vicodin worked good and I never “over used it” the Dr won’t prescribe it because his family member overdosed. I would love a new Dr but my hubby is military and they assign you Dr.s. does anyone have a suggestion on what would work? Thank you.

  11. Susan says:

    My daughter is 28 years old with CP and is having cronic neck back and shoulder area pain. She has loradosis (her back sways in a lot,) She is on Flexeril, hydrocodone, and Advil to try to control her pain. Has been really hurting her since Feb. and increases. Wondered if anyone had any suggestions, Thought I would just throw it out there just in case. THANKS

  12. Tom Pence says:

    I am 41 years old withe cerebral palsy. The pain pills that they give me don’t really help. I think the doctors are pill pushers annd don’t care about peope with cp. aI have constant hip pain and now have bad ankle pain due to a fall that i had last spring. it makes me tired aand grouchy.

  13. Judy Noonan says:

    I am an adult 42 years old, and I experience pain every day, and I have mild Spastic cerebral palsy, right hemiplegia, My good side’s muscles from the wear and tear, repetitive motions and imbalance and overcompensation and extra work it has and had it on.. my muscles are stressed and tight.My affected side is much tighter than ever now too. I began sitting in a chair for distances after I fell off a 2 horses within a year and my body has never been the same since.. Though, my pain and first ever assistive device I had was an AFO when I was 25 because my right foot and ankle began to hurt.

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