Content » Vol 43, Issue 5

Original report

Physical and mental components of health-related quality of life and musculoskeletal pain sites over seven years in adults with spastic cerebral palsy

Arve Opheim, Reidun Jahnsen, Elisabeth Olsson, Johan K. Stanghelle
DOI: 10.2340/16501977-0787


Objective: To analyse the number of musculoskeletal pain sites in adults with spastic cerebral palsy, to correlate these with physical and mental components of health-related quality of life, and to describe changes in pain site prevalence over 7 years and the factors improving or worsening the pain.
Design: Seven-year follow-up of a national survey of adults with spastic cerebral palsy (CP).
Subjects/patients: A total of 149 persons: 46% spastic bilateral CP, 54% unilateral CP, 51% females, mean age 40 years.
Methods: Pain sites were recorded and physical and mental component summaries computed using Short Form 36.
Results: The median number of pain sites was 3. The mental components showed little, if any correlation (r = –0.08), but the physical components correlated negatively with the number of pain sites (r = –0.36). Back, neck and foot/ankle pain were most common, with an increased prevalence of neck pain. A higher prevalence of hip and foot/ankle pain was found in spastic bilateral CP, and for all pain sites in females. Exertion and physiotherapy were the most important factors for increased and reduced pain, respectively.
Conclusion: In contrast to the general population, there was hardly any correlation between the number of pain sites and psychological health. Improved pain management, evidence-based physiotherapy and rehabilitation programmes with a life-span perspective are recommended.

Lay Abstract


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