Keele researchers leading £1.5m study to improve care for children with musculoskeletal pain
A research team led by Keele University is working to improve understanding and care for children with musculoskeletal pain in their joints and muscles, to improve their treatment and ways of managing their pain.
Conditions like feet, knee or back pain are common in children and are a leading cause of disability across the world. But despite being so prevalent, there has been very little research into childhood musculoskeletal pain, particularly what treatments are given to children with these conditions, or how they and their parents feel about their experiences.
Having good experiences with doctors could be important in shaping how these children cope with pains such as these, and how they manage their pain later as adults. It is also thought that giving children appropriate information when they visit their doctor could help them and their parents feel more confident to deal with pain, both now and as they progress into adulthood.
To address this lack of information, the team has received almost £1.5m for a study from the NIHR and Versus Arthritis, to undertake an important research study with the overall goal of improving children’s understanding and management of their pain.
They will speak to children and their parents to learn more about their experiences of visiting doctors for painful musculoskeletal conditions, and how their experiences might shape how they cope with pain both as children and into their adult lives.
Led by Keele’s Professor Kate Dunn, the researchers will also speak to healthcare professionals during the study to learn more about how care is delivered for these patients usually, and will look at anonymised healthcare records to see how widespread these issues are, and what treatments are commonly used.
They will also work with children and adolescents to develop a new package of information and support materials to improve children’s experiences of pain.
Professor Dunn said: “There is a massive research gap among this important group of children and young people. We are very excited to learn much more about their patterns and experiences of pain and its management, and work with the children and young people to develop resources that are helpful and relevant for them.”