Introduction Each year, 8% of children and adolescents consult their general practitioner (GP) due to musculoskeletal conditions, with pain the most frequent symptom. There is limited knowledge about this care-seeking population. The purpose of this study is to describe children and adolescents consulting their GP due to musculoskeletal pain.
Materials and Methods This is a cross-sectional study embedded in the child and adolescent musculoskeletal pain cohort study, carried out in 17 Danish general practice clinics. Patients aged 8–19 years with musculoskeletal pain when consulting general practice completed a questionnaire on demographics, physical activity, pain impact, psychosocial factors, and expectations of their general practitioner.
Results One hundred participants were included (54% female, median age 13 [IQR: 12–16] years). The most frequent region of activity-limiting pain was the knee (56%), followed by the back (20%), ankle (19%), and neck (13%). The primary reason for (63%) consulting their GP was inability to use their body as usual due to pain. Median pain duration on consultation was 5 months [IQR: 3 weeks-1 year]. Over a third were nervous (34%), worried/anxious (33%), and took pain medication (33%). Pain negatively impacted sport activities at school (79%) and leisure time activities (88%). Pain made concentration (58%) and falling asleep (38%) difficult. Only 38% expected a pain free long-term future.
Conclusion This study demonstrates the bio-psycho-social impact of musculoskeletal pain in care-seeking children and adolescents in general practice. Demographics, pain characteristics, psychosocial characteristics, and physical characteristics should be considered when consulting children and adolescents with musculoskeletal pain.
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