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Children with autism are twice as likely to suffer from chronic pain

| | November 20, 2019
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Children with autism are about twice as likely as their typical peers to experience chronic or repeated pain, according to a large study. Those with co-occurring developmental conditions, such as epilepsy or intellectual disability, are even more likely to have chronic pain.

[Researcher Danielle] Shapiro and a colleague used data from the 2016-2017 U.S. National Survey of Children’s Health, a questionnaire that asks parents about their children’s medical diagnoses and whether the children experienced chronic or repeated pain over the previous year. Their analysis included 50,063 children aged 6 to 17 years, including 1,472 with autism.

About 16 percent of children with autism experienced chronic or repeated pain in the previous year, the team found. For autistic children with co-occurring conditions, that figure is just under 20 percent. By comparison, only about 8 percent of typical children experienced frequent pain, according to their parents.

Related article:  Gender bias: Are we overlooking autism in women and girls?

Shapiro hopes the study will be a “springboard” for pain research, including work that looks at the sources of autistic children’s pain.

“That would serve as a pathway to help us think about how to address pain in kids with autism,” she says.

Read full, original post: Autistic children disproportionately affected by chronic pain

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