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Book Forum: CHILD PSYCHIATRY   |    
Chronic and Recurrent Pain in Children and Adolescents
MICHELLE K. LEFF, M.D.
Am J Psychiatry 2001;158:152-a-153. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.158.1.152-a
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Edited by Patrick J. McGrath and G. Allen Finley. Seattle, International Association for the Study of Pain Press, 1999, 288 pp., $67.00.

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This volume, number 13 in a series titled Progress in Pain Research and Management, summarizes the current literature concerning chronic pain in children and adolescents. This volume presents information at all levels. Chapters 1–4 describe the more experimental and theoretical research, such as the neurobiological mechanisms of chronic pain in developing (i.e., children’s) nervous systems, the animal model literature on newborn pain, and the human literature on the effects of early pain experience. Chapters 5–9 detail specific chronic pain syndromes seen in children and adolescents.

These latter chapters are of practical clinical significance for both pediatricians and child and adolescent psychiatrists—neuropathic pain, sickle cell disease pain, recurrent headaches, recurrent abdominal pain, and musculoskeletal pain are the specific syndromes discussed. Each chapter describes the pathophysiology, epidemiology, assessment, classification or diagnosis, and treatment options. For example, the chapter "Recurrent Headaches," written by Bo Larsson, describes the International Headache Society classification of headaches, the epidemiology of specific types of childhood headaches, etiology, assessment, associated symptoms, and treatment options (including psychological as well as pharmacological treatment) for the different types of headaches. This chapter is well organized, succinctly written, and contains very useful information for clinicians. In addition, there is an extensive list of references for those who wish to read more about a specific topic.

I found the information in "Gender Variation in Children’s Pain Experiences," by Anita M. Unruh and Mary Ann Campbell, most intriguing. Although the authors state that the research in gender variation in pain experience has had very limited attention until recently, they present an exhaustive literature review. They have organized the literature by the different chronic pain syndromes (such as headache, back pain, etc.). They also discuss gender variations with regard to the relationship between pain and stress and depression, the use of medications, and coping with pain.

Overall, I recommend this volume as a helpful reference for health care professionals who treat children and adolescents. Other volumes in this series have dealt with topics such as sickle cell pain, cancer pain, and measurement of pain in infants and children. These may also be of interest to those who have found this particular volume useful.

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