Chronic Pain Is Often a Family Affair, Study Finds11/19/12
MONDAY, Nov. 19 (HealthDay News) -- The teenage children of
people who suffer chronic pain are at higher risk of suffering from
such pain themselves, a new study finds.
The study tracked more than 5,300 teens (aged 13 to 18) in
Norway and their parents and found that teens were more likely to
have chronic nonspecific pain and chronic multisite pain if one or
both of their parents had chronic pain.
The risk of chronic pain in teens was greater if both parents
had chronic pain, according to the study published online Nov. 19
in the journal
Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.
Adjusting for socioeconomic and psychosocial factors did not
change the findings, but different types of family structure did
have an effect, said Dr. Gry Hoftun, of the Norwegian University of
Science and Technology, and colleagues. For example, among teens
who lived primarily with their mothers, those whose mothers had
chronic pain were at increased risk for chronic pain. No such
association was found among teens who lived primarily with their
Shared environmental factors could play an important role in
chronic pain that occurs among adults and their children, the
One expert in the United States said the study raises some
"The findings are not surprising, but causal factors -- what is the basis for this relationship -- remain unanswered," said Dr. Bradley Flansbaum, an internist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. "We cannot account for every exposure, particularly social influences, and the impact genetics and environment play in the outcome are difficult to parse," he noted.
"This should not distract the take-home point -- mainly, cause aside, pain clusters in families," Flansbaum said. He believes that the finding could make it easier to spot those people who suffer from chronic pain and improve treatment.
The U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
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