The Impact Of Adolescent Pain On Quality Of Life

Recurring episodes of chronic pain often have a major impact on the daily lives of adolescents and their families. Not only does the pain have a direct affect on physical function but also on sleep, mood, appetite, social interaction, hobbies, and education. It is essential that that any planned rehabilitation takes these factors into account, concentrating solely on the pain is often futile.

In the Roth-Isigkeit study, 54% of adolescents who reported pain also had problems with sleep and appetite, 49% had long-term absences from school and 47% were unable to meet friends (7). A separate outpatient survey showed that 72% suffered impairment in sports activities, 51% reported absence from school, 40% experienced limitations in social functioning, and 34% had problems with sleeping (77). Sleep disorders with frequent nocturnal arousals or daytime somnolence are common in children suffering juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (76); similar sleep disturbances are seen in adolescents with chronic pain. In the German cohort study, 41% of the young people reported sleep disturbances attributable to pain. This significantly increased with age. Restrictions at school, absenteeism, and problems with school activities are widely reported in this population.

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