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Quintessence Publishing: Journals: QI
Quintessence International

Edited by Eli Eliav

ISSN 0033-6572 (print) • ISSN 1936-7163 (online)

May 2006
Volume 37 , Issue 5

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Pain-related impairment and health care utilization in children and adolescents: A comparison of orofacial pain with abdominal pain, back pain, and headache

Christian Hirsch, Dr Med Dent Habil, MSc / Mike T. John, Dr Med Dent Habil, MPH, PhD / Hans-Günter Schaller, Dr Med Dent Habil / Jens C. Türp, Dr Med Dent Habil

Pages: 381–390
PMID: 16683686

Objective: The purpose was to compare orofacial (temporomandibular) pain with other pain complaints regarding impairment and health care utilization in a sample of 1,011 children and adolescents from a metropolitan area in Germany. Method and Materials: Individuals aged 10 to 18 years were sampled in schools using a 2-stage cluster technique. Orofacial pain in the previous month was assessed according to the Research Diagnostic Criteria for Temporomandibular Disorders. Additionally, participants were questioned about headache, back pain, abdominal pain, pain-related impairment, and health care utilization (visits to doctors, analgesic consumption) in the previous month. Results: Headache was reported by 50% (95% CI: 45% to 56%) of participants, stomach pain by 36% (95% CI: 32% to 41%), back pain by 31% (95% CI: 25% to 36%), and orofacial pain by 15% (95% CI: 12% to 18%). Girls were more affected than boys. The range of “severe” and “very severe” impairment lay between 8% (orofacial pain) and 22% (headache). The range of treatment demand was between 10% and 17% (orofacial pain: 15%), and the range for analgesic consumption between 18% and 24% (orofacial pain: 22%). The more pain experienced, the more impairment, doctor consultations, and analgesic consumption were reported (x2 test: P < 0.05). Risk of orofacial pain was 60% higher for subjects with head, back, and/or abdominal pain (odds ratio: 1.6; 95% CI: 1.3 to 1.9). Conclusion: In children and adolescents, orofacial pain occurs about half as often as other pain complaints. However, relative to their prevalence the different pain complaints are similar regarding impairment and health care utilization. (Quintessence Int 2006;37:381–390)

Key words: chi-square distribution, chronic disease, cross-sectional studies, epidemiology, health services needs and demand, orofacial pain, prevalence, quality of life

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