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Papers of the Week

Papers: 7 Jan 2023 - 13 Jan 2023

2022 Dec

Paediatr Neonatal Pain



Narrative review of the prevalence and distribution of acute pain in children in the self-care setting.


Shinde N, Kanabar DJ, Miles LJ
Paediatr Neonatal Pain. 2022 Dec; 4(4):169-191.
PMID: 36618510.


Acute pain among children is common, yet it may be underestimated and undertreated if the pain is not recognized. Assessing and managing pediatric pain can be complicated, and as such, measuring the prevalence of acute pain in children can be challenging. We sought to provide a consolidated review of the available data on the prevalence of commonly occurring acute pain in children in the self-care setting. An extensive literature search was performed to determine the prevalence of acute pain at multiple bodily locations in children aged between 3 months and 18 years. We considered the influence of age, sex, and sociodemographic factors on prevalence estimates. We also sought to identify some of the challenges involved in assessing and managing pediatric pain, thus shedding light on areas where there may be clinical and medical unmet needs. In general, a high prevalence of acute pain in children was detected, particularly headache, menstruation-related pain, and dental and back pain. Older age, female sex, and lower socioeconomic status were associated with increased pain prevalence. Risk factors were identified for all pain types and included psychological issues, stress, and unhealthy lifestyle habits. Owing to the heterogeneity in study populations, the prevalence estimates varied widely; there was also heterogeneity in the pain assessment tools utilized. The paucity of information regarding pain prevalence appears to be out of proportion with the burden of acute pain in children. This could indicate that clinicians may not be equipped with an optimal pain management strategy to guide their practice, especially regarding the use of developmentally appropriate pain assessment tools, without which prevalence data may not be captured. If acute pain is not accurately identified, it cannot be optimally treated. Further investigation is required to determine how the information from prevalence studies translates to the real-world setting.