What types of pain do children experience?
Like adults, children experience acute pain from injury, illness, and invasive medical procedures. Neonates experience 1 to 10+ painful procedures per day during their first week of hospitalization. Children receive 49 doses of 14 vaccines by their 6th birthday; and over 6 million children per year have surgery. Children also experience recurrent, persistent, and chronic pain. Unlike the pain from disease or trauma, the pain itself, rather than the underlying disease, becomes the problem. Chronic pain of childhood is associated with a mean loss of 3.43 quality-adjusted life years. Prevalence estimates of chronic pain in children range from 11% to 38%. The most common pains are headaches (10% to 30% of children and the reason for 1%–2% of pediatric visits), stomachaches (7% to 25% and the reason for 2% to 4% of pediatric visits), and musculoskeletal pain (over 50% of children). Functional pain syndromes are a less common, complex, loosely defined group of pediatric chronic conditions characterized by pain, suffering, and disability with unclear disease etiology or biomechanical cause. It is important for parents and children to understand that there is no single source of tissue damage that causes the child’s recurrent, persistent, chronic, or functional pain syndrome