Link Between Parents with Chronic Pain and Kids with Similar Ailments

Study shows parents should not overemphasize pain like with short-term sickness

In new research, experts are starting to see that chronic pain within adolescents is more likely to develop if their parents suffer from chronic pain as well. This, according to research, seems to be especially true if the parents tend to ‘Catastrophize” the pain.

“Children are careful observers of everything that we do as parents, and how we respond to our pain and to their pain is no different,” said Anna Wilson, a psychologist at Oregon Health & Science University who led the study.

The over-concerned, almost paranoid repetition of checking for chronic pains and signs of pending pain can have a negative effect on the child, according to Wilson. “Unfortunately, we know from many research studies that this (misplaced) worry tends to make pain worse,” she told Reuters Health.

The studies looked at 178 children spanning from 11 to 14 years of age. They filled out questionnaires that asked about everything from physical issues to the pain they felt on a daily basis. Adolescents’ parents were asked to fill out similar questions, and the frequency in notation of pain was then noted.

Each parent and child also filled out surveys that noted how coping was handled in the household. Nearly 25% of adolescents and 66% of parents reported some form of chronic pain. Parental pain was noted as being significantly linked with the child’s pain.

According to Wilson, what was to be learned about the exercise was that the most helpful way to assist chronic or persistent pain in children would be the opposite of how a parent acts when in regards to short-term ailments. Avoiding magnification of the issue seemed to be an important factor.

Being a parent is hard; pain just makes it harder,” Wilson said.

“If you are a parent who has chronic pain and you are worried about how it might be impacting your child, talk with your own doctor, a pain psychologist or your child’s doctor,” she said. (Reuters)

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