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Papers of the Week

Papers: 17 Oct 2020 - 23 Oct 2020


2020 Sep




Pain prevention and management must begin in childhood: the key role of psychological interventions.


Pain conditions in childhood often continue into adulthood. Childhood chronic pain is related to a range of vulnerabilities that may have contributed to the onset of childhood pain or that may co-occur as a consequence of childhood pain. These vulnerabilities have been shown to maintain pain and disability during childhood but may also contribute to long-term developmental and health impairments that affect adult life. If progress is to be made in reducing the impact of pain and disability through the lifespan, greater efforts need to be directed toward understanding why, for whom, and how pain occurring in childhood affects subsequent adult pain and health. In this review, a developmental framework is applied to link childhood pain to adult pain highlighting childhood vulnerabilities (emotional, health behavior, social/family, and neurobiological) that may represent pathways for interventions in childhood to interrupt this trajectory. Psychological interventions can play a key role in addressing childhood pain and vulnerabilities associated with risk for maladaptive adult outcomes. The review summarizes the evidence base for the effectiveness of psychological interventions for childhood chronic pain and identifies gaps and opportunities to further develop and test early targeted interventions in childhood to reduce childhood chronic pain as well as build resiliency to promote positive adult outcomes. A future research agenda is delineated including the need for longitudinal cohort studies from childhood into adulthood and testing of both targeted early intervention to reduce risk and build resiliency to enhance long-term adult pain, health, developmental, and social outcomes.