Recurrent pain in children and adolescents

OBJECTIVE: to perform a bibliographic review of recurrent pain in children and adolescents, focusing on differential diagnosis and management of such patients. SOURCES OF DATA: search of Medline and Lilacs databases, covering the last four and ten years, respectively. Classical studies and texts related to the matter were also included. SUMMARY OF THE FINDINGS: studies carried out in different parts of the world demonstrate that the most frequent kinds of recurrent pain in children and adolescents are abdominal pain, headache, and limb pain. The occurrence of organic etiology is low, observed in 5% to 10% of the cases. Among the well defined organic etiology, no predominance is observed. The main advances regarding the pathophysiology of recurrent pain in its main localizations were analyzed. Guidelines for the diagnostic and therapeutic approach of the most common infantile diseases related to recurrent pain are presented. CONCLUSIONS: recurrent pain in children and adolescents is very common and determines significant demand on healthcare services. Defined etiology is only presented by 5% to 10% of patients. Anamnesis, physical examination and follow-up are extremely important instruments for dealing with such patients.

pain; abdominal pain; headache; limb pain

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