Conditioned pain modulation (CPM) refers to the diminution of perceived pain intensity for a test stimulus following application of a conditioning stimulus to a remote area of the body, and is thought to reflect the descending inhibition of nociceptive signals. Studying CPM in children may inform interventions to enhance central pain inhibition within a developmental framework. We assessed CPM in 133 healthy children (mean age = 13 years; 52.6% girls) and tested the effects of sex and age. Participants were exposed to four trials of a pressure test stimulus before, during, and after the application of a cold water conditioning stimulus. CPM was documented by a reduction in pressure pain ratings during cold water administration. Older children (12–17 years) exhibited greater CPM than younger (8–11 years) children. No sex differences in CPM were found. Lower heart rate variability (HRV) at baseline and after pain induction was associated with less CPM controlling for child age. The findings of greater CPM in the older age cohort suggest a developmental improvement in central pain inhibitory mechanisms. The results highlight the need to examine developmental and contributory factors in central pain inhibitory mechanisms in children to guide effective, age appropriate, pain interventions.
diffuse noxious inhibitory controls; experimental pain; descending modulation; endogenous inhibition; pediatric pain
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic disease characterized by inflammation of joints and associated fatigue, deteriorated range of motion, and impaired psychosocial functioning. Young adults with RA are at a particular risk for compromised health-related quality of life, and there is a need for safe, effective complementary treatment in addition to traditional medical approaches. The aim of the present study was to use face-to-face participant interviews, conducted before and after an Iyengar yoga (IY) program, to examine mechanisms through which yoga may be beneficial to young adults with RA.
This pilot study utilized a single-arm design where all participants received the intervention. Classes were taught twice per week (1.5 hours each) for 6 weeks by an IY teacher qualified in therapeutics. Interview themes included participants’ baseline expectations about yoga and viewpoints as to how their functioning had been impacted by the IY intervention were examined. Five young adults with RA aged 24–31 years (mean = 28; 80% female) completed the yoga intervention. Participants consistently reported that yoga helped with energy, relaxation and mood and they discussed perceived mechanisms for how yoga impacted well-being. Mechanisms included physical changes such as range of motion and physiological awareness, and psychospiritual developments such as acceptance, coping, self-efficacy and mindfulness. Though the study is limited, participants’ responses provide compelling evidence that IY for RA patients is an intervention worthy of further exploration. The mechanisms and outcomes reported by participants support a biopsychosocial model, which proposes that yoga benefits patients through both physiological and psychospiritual changes.
Iyengar yoga; Rheumatoid arthritis; Qualitative data
A link between alexithymia and somatization has been widely established, yet little is known about different factors that may influence this relationship. Evidence supporting the idea of psychopathology as a mediator has been presented but not widely tested, particularly in children. The present study examined depressive symptoms as a mediator of alexithymia and somatization in a sample of healthy children in order to better understand the alexithymia-somatization link from a developmental perspective. Results indicated that depression significantly partially mediated this relationship, at least for two facets of alexithymia (difficulty identifying and describing feelings). Possible mechanisms, implications, and directions for future research are discussed.
youth; depression; emotions; health psychology; mediator
Little is known about pain among long-term adult survivors of childhood cancers. The study investigated pain prevalence in this population compared with sibling controls and examined pain-related risk factors. Three self-reported pain outcomes including pain conditions, prescription analgesics used, and pain attributed to cancer and treatment were assessed among 10,397 cancer survivors and 3,034 sibling controls from the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study (CCSS). Pain conditions (pain/abnormal sensation, migraines, and other headaches) were reported by 12.3%, 15.5%, and 20.5% of survivors respectively; 16.7% of survivors reported use of prescription analgesics, and 21% attributed pain to cancer and treatment. Risks of reporting pain conditions and using prescription analgesics were higher among survivors than siblings adjusting for sociodemographic factors. Younger age at diagnosis and a history of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, Wilms tumor, or neuroblastoma (compared to leukemia) were associated with greater risk of reporting pain conditions. A history of bone cancer or soft tissue sarcoma (compared to leukemia) was associated with greater risks of using prescription analgesics and cancer-related pain attribution. Non-brain directed scatter irradiation was associated with elevated risk for migraines and cancer-related pain attribution. Female gender and lower educational attainment were associated with increased reports of all three pain outcomes; minority status, unemployment, and being single were associated with greater risks for reporting pain conditions. These findings contribute to the understanding of pain and associated risk factors among adult survivors of childhood cancer and suggest areas of focus for pain intervention.
Long-term adult survivors of childhood cancer; Self-reported pain; Pain attribution; Risk factors
Few studies have focused on identifying predictors of medical consultation for pain in healthy children and adolescents.
This investigation sought to identify parent and child laboratory and non-laboratory predictors of pediatric healthcare utilization for pain problems.
Participants were 210 healthy children and adolescents (102 girls), aged 8–17 years who took part in a laboratory pain session.
Three months after the laboratory session, participants were contacted by telephone to ascertain whether they had experienced pain and whether they had seen a healthcare professional for pain. Zero-order correlations among sociodemographics, child laboratory pain responses, parent physical/mental health status and medical consultation for pain were conducted to identify relevant correlates of pediatric healthcare utilization; these correlates were subjected to multivariate analyses.
Bivariate analyses indicated that higher anticipated pain and bother for the cold pressor task, as well as poorer parent physical health status, were associated with pediatric medical consultation for pain, but only among girls. Sequential logistic regression analyses controlling for child age indicated that only parent physical health status, not the laboratory indicators, significantly predicted healthcare consultation for pain among girls. No parent or child correlates of care-seeking for pain emerged for boys.
The findings suggest that parents’ perceived physical health plays a role in determining whether medical care is sought for pain complaints in healthy girls. These results suggest that interventions to assist parents in managing their own physical health problems may lead to reductions in medical consultation for girls’ pain.
pediatric health care; parent health status; parent-child relationship; experimental pain; acute pain
Although sex differences in anxiety sensitivity or the specific tendency to fear anxiety-related sensations have been reported in adults with clinical pain, there is a dearth of relevant research among children. This study examined sex differences in anxiety sensitivity across unselected samples of 187 children with chronic pain (71.7% girls; mean age = 14.5) and 202 non-clinical children (52% girls; mean age = 13.6). Girls in the chronic pain and non-clinical samples reported elevated anxiety sensitivity relative to boys irrespective of clinical status. Girls with chronic pain also reported heightened fears of the physical consequences of anxiety compared to non-clinical girls but there were no such differences for psychological or social concerns. Among boys, anxiety sensitivity did not differ between the chronic pain and non-clinical groups. Future longitudinal research may examine whether specific fears of anxiety-related somatic sensations constitutes a sex-based vulnerability factor in the development of chronic pain.
chronic pain; children; anxiety sensitivity; anxiety; sex differences
Low-income youth experience social-emotional problems linked to chronic stress that are exacerbated by lack of access to care. Drumming is a non-verbal, universal activity that builds upon a collectivistic aspect of diverse cultures and does not bear the stigma of therapy. A pretest-post-test non-equivalent control group design was used to assess the effects of 12 weeks of school counselor-led drumming on social-emotional behavior in two fifth-grade intervention classrooms versus two standard education control classrooms. The weekly intervention integrated rhythmic and group counseling activities to build skills, such as emotion management, focus and listening. The Teacher's Report Form was used to assess each of 101 participants (n = 54 experimental, n = 47 control, 90% Latino, 53.5% female, mean age 10.5 years, range 10–12 years). There was 100% retention. ANOVA testing showed that intervention classrooms improved significantly compared to the control group in broad-band scales (total problems (P < .01), internalizing problems (P < .02)), narrow-band syndrome scales (withdrawn/depression (P < .02), attention problems (P < .01), inattention subscale (P < .001)), Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-oriented scales (anxiety problems (P < .01), attention deficit/hyperactivity problems (P < .01), inattention subscale (P < .001), oppositional defiant problems (P < .03)), and other scales (post-traumatic stress problems (P < .01), sluggish cognitive tempo (P < .001)). Participation in group drumming led to significant improvements in multiple domains of social-emotional behavior. This sustainable intervention can foster positive youth development and increase student-counselor interaction. These findings underscore the potential value of the arts as a therapeutic tool.
This study examined the relationships among anxiety sensitivity (AS), catastrophizing, somatization, and pain in 240 non-clinical children (121 girls; mean age = 12.7 years). Children with pain problems (n = 81; 33.8%) reported greater AS and catastrophizing (p’s < .01) relative to children without pain problems. AS but not catastrophizing was significantly associated with current pain. However, both AS and catastrophizing were significantly associated with somatization. AS and catastrophizing represent related but partially distinct cognitive constructs that may be targeted by interventions aimed at alleviating pain and somatization in children.
Children; pain; somatization; catastrophizing; anxiety sensitivity
There is increasing concern regarding the number of painful medical procedures that infants must undergo and the potential risks of alleviating infant pain with conventional pharmacologic agents. This article is Part I of a two-part series that aims to provide an overview of the literature on complementary and alternative (CAM) approaches for pain and distress related to medical procedures among infants up to six weeks of age. The focus of this article is a review of the empirical literature on sucrose with or without non-nutritive sucking (NNS) for procedural pain in infancy. Computerized databases were searched for relevant studies including prior reviews and primary trials. The most robust evidence was found for the analgesic effects of sucrose with or without NNS on minor procedural pain in healthy full-term infants. Despite some methodological weaknesses, the literature to date supports the use of sucrose, NNS and other sweetened solutions for the management of procedural pain in infancy.
infant; neonate; nonnutritive sucking; procedural pain; sucrose
This article is the second in a two-part series reviewing the empirical evidence for complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) approaches for the management of pain related to medical procedures in infants up to 6 weeks of age. Part I of this series investigated the effects of sucrose with or without non-nutritive sucking (NNS). The present article examines other CAM interventions for procedural pain including music-based interventions, olfactory stimulation, kangaroo care and swaddling. Computerized databases were searched for relevant studies including prior reviews and primary trials. Preliminary support was revealed for the analgesic effects of the CAM modalities reviewed. However, the overall quality of the evidence for these approaches remains relatively weak. Additional well-designed trials incorporating rigorous methodology are required. Such investigations will assist in the development of evidence-based guidelines on the use of CAM interventions either alone or in concert with conventional approaches to provide safe, reliable analgesia for infant procedural pain.
To examine relationships among trait anxiety sensitivity, state task-specific anticipatory anxiety, and laboratory pain responses in healthy children and adolescents.
Participants (N=118, 49.2% female, ages 8-18 years) completed a measure of anxiety sensitivity and rated anticipatory anxiety prior to undergoing thermal, pressure, and cold pain tasks. Linear and logistic regressions were used to test the hypothesis that anxiety sensitivity and anticipatory anxiety would predict incremental variance in pain response after controlling for sex, age, and anxious symptoms.
Anticipatory anxiety accounted for 35-38% of unique variance in pain report across tasks, and 10% of unique variance in thermal tolerance. Anxiety sensitivity was unrelated to pain responses.
Task-specific anxiety is an important predictor of pain report and, in certain cases, pain tolerance. Interventions designed to reduce task-specific anticipatory anxiety may help reduce pain responses in children and adolescents.
laboratory pain; anxiety; anxiety sensitivity; children; adolescents
Existing laboratory-based research in adult samples has suggested that anxiety sensitivity (AS) increases an individual’s propensity to experience pain-related anxiety which in turn enhances pain responsivity. Such relationships have not been examined in younger populations. Thus, the present study used structural equation modeling (SEM) to test a conceptual model in which AS would evidence an indirect relationship with pain intensity via its contribution to state-specific anticipatory anxiety in relation to a variety of laboratory pain tasks (cold pressor, thermal heat, and pressure pain) in 234 healthy children (116 girls; mean age = 12.6 years, range = 8–18 years). The model further hypothesized that existing anxious symptomatology would demonstrate a direct relationship with pain intensity. Results of the SEM supported the proposed conceptual model with the total indirect effect of AS accounting for 29% of the variance in laboratory pain intensity via its effects on pain-related anticipatory anxiety. AS did not however, evidence a direct relationship with pain intensity. Anxious symptomatology on the other hand, demonstrated a significant direct effect on pain intensity, accounting for 15% of variance. The combined effects of AS, anxiety symptoms, and anticipatory anxiety together explained 62% of the variance in pain intensity. These relationships did not differ for boys and girls indicating no moderating effect of sex in the proposed model. The present results support the potential benefit of assessing both AS and anxiety symptoms in children prior to undergoing painful stimulation.
children; adolescents; anxiety; anxiety sensitivity; laboratory pain; experimental pain; pain intensity
The current study investigated the relationship of pain to use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in a U.S. nationally representative sample of 2466 persons with HIV using data from the HIV Cost and Services Utilization Study (HCSUS). Pain was conceptualized as a need characteristic within the context of predisposing, enabling, and need (PEN) characteristics following Andersen's Behavioral Model of Health Services Use. Multivariate analyses were used to examine the association of baseline PEN characteristics with CAM use by follow-up (approximately 6 months later), including use of five specific CAM domains. Change in pain from baseline to follow-up was also examined in relation to CAM use. Baseline pain was a strong predictor of CAM use, and increased pain over time was associated with use of unlicensed or underground drugs with potential for harm. These results highlight the importance of medical efforts to control pain in persons living with HIV.
Complementary medicine; alternative medicine; human immunodeficiency virus; pain
CAM therapies have become increasingly popular in pediatric populations. Yet, little is known about children's preferences for CAM. This study examined treatment preferences in chronic pediatric pain patients offered a choice of CAM therapies for their pain. Participants were 129 children (94 girls) (mean age = 14.5 years ± 2.4; range = 8–18 years) presenting at a multidisciplinary, tertiary clinic specializing in pediatric chronic pain. Bivariate and multivariate analyses were used to examine the relationships between CAM treatment preferences and patient's sociodemographic and clinical characteristics, as well as their self-reported level of functioning. Over 60% of patients elected to try at least one CAM approach for pain. The most popular CAM therapies were biofeedback, yoga and hypnosis; the least popular were art therapy and energy healing, with craniosacral, acupuncture and massage being intermediate. Patients with a diagnosis of fibromyalgia (80%) were the most likely to try CAM versus those with other pain diagnoses. In multivariate analyses, pain duration emerged as a significant predictor of CAM preferences. For mind-based approaches (i.e. hypnosis, biofeedback and art therapy), pain duration and limitations in family activities were both significant predictors. When given a choice of CAM therapies, this sample of children with chronic pain, irrespective of pain diagnosis, preferred non-invasive approaches that enhanced relaxation and increased somatic control. Longer duration of pain and greater impairment in functioning, particularly during family activities increased the likelihood that such patients agreed to engage in CAM treatments, especially those that were categorized as mind-based modalities.
functional impairment; mind–body approaches; pain management; pediatric pain; quality of life
Patient expectations regarding complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) interventions have important implications for treatment adherence, attrition and clinical outcome. Little is known, however, about parent and child treatment expectations regarding CAM approaches for pediatric chronic pain problems. The present study examined ratings of the expected benefits of CAM (i.e. hypnosis, massage, acupuncture, yoga and relaxation) and conventional medicine (i.e. medications, surgery) interventions in 45 children (32 girls; mean age = 13.8 years ± 2.5) and parents (39 mothers) presenting for treatment at a specialty clinic for chronic pediatric pain. Among children, medications and relaxation were expected to be significantly more helpful than the remaining approaches (P < 0.01). However, children expected the three lowest rated interventions, acupuncture, surgery and hypnosis, to be of equal benefit. Results among parents were similar to those found in children but there were fewer significant differences between ratings of the various interventions. Only surgery was expected by parents to be significantly less helpful than the other approaches (P < 0.01). When parent and child perceptions were compared, parents expected hypnosis, acupuncture and yoga, to be more beneficial than did children, whereas children expected surgery to be more helpful than did parents (P < 0.01). Overall, children expected the benefits of CAM to be fairly low with parents' expectations only somewhat more positive. The current findings suggest that educational efforts directed at enhancing treatment expectations regarding CAM, particularly among children with chronic pain, are warranted.
Pain; expectation; child; parent; alternative therapies
In recent years, the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in pediatric populations has increased considerably, especially for chronic conditions such as cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and cystic fibrosis in which pain may be a significant problem. Despite the growing popularity of CAM approaches for pediatric pain, questions regarding the efficacy of these interventions remain. This review critically evaluates the existing empirical evidence for the efficacy of CAM interventions for pain symptoms in children. CAM modalities that possess a published literature, including controlled trials and/or multiple baseline studies, that focused on either chronic or acute, procedural pain were included in this review. The efficacy of the CAM interventions was evaluated according to the framework developed by the American Psychological Association (APA) Division 12 Task Force on Promotion and Dissemination of Psychological Procedures. According to these criteria, only one CAM approach reviewed herein (self-hypnosis/guided imagery/relaxation for recurrent pediatric headache) qualified as an empirically supported therapy (EST), although many may be considered possibly efficacious or promising treatments for pediatric pain. Several methodological limitations of the existing literature on CAM interventions for pain problems in children are highlighted and future avenues for research are outlined.
complementary medicine; alternative medicine; pediatric pain; pain; children