PURPOSE: To describe the prevalence, location, severity, and daily impact of pain reported by youth and young adults with cerebral palsy (CP). A secondary aim was to identify any significant associations between the constructs of interest.
METHOD: An observational study of 112 participants with CP to understand their experience of pain through a questionnaire. Participants were 56 males and 55 females with a mean age of 18y 9mo (SD 4y 5mo).
RESULTS: Pain was reported by 75% of males and 89% of females. Both severity and impact of pain were significantly greater in females. In addition, severity and impact of pain were significantly different between specific GMFCS levels. There were no significant differences in location of pain by gender or GMFCS level. A strong positive correlation between the severity and impact of pain was observed (rs = 0.80).
CONCLUSION: The gender differences in the severity and impact of pain and the overall and high prevalence of pain reported here provide healthcare practitioners with an increased awareness of pain distribution/characteristics among young adults with CP. Understanding the impact of pain on daily life can assist practitioners to efficiently manage pain and improve the quality of life for individuals with CP.