Psychological therapies for the management of chronic and recurrent pain in children and adolescents.

Eccleston C, Palermo TM, Williams AC, Lewandowski A, Morley S.

The objective of this review was to assess the effectiveness of psychological therapies for reducing pain, disability, and improving mood in children and adolescents with recurrent, episodic, or persistent pain. Randomised Controlled Trials (RCTs) with at least ten participants in each arm post-treatment comparing psychological therapies with placebo, waiting list or standard medical care for children or adolescents with episodic, recurrent or persistent pain, were eligible for inclusion. Thirty-four RCT studies were recovered; 29 met the inclusion criteria. The total number of participants completing treatments was 1432. Twenty studies addressed treatments for headache (including migraine); six for abdominal pain; one for both headache and abdominal pain, one study was for fibromyalgia, and one was for pain associated with sickle cell disease.

The review concluded that psychological treatments are effective in pain control for children with headache and benefits appear to be maintained. Psychological treatments may also improve pain control for children with musculoskeletal and recurrent abdominal pain.

Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2009 Apr 15;(2):CD003968.

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