Headaches, abdominal pain, musculoskeletal pain and Complex Regional Pain Syndrome are the most common forms of adolescent pain. The greatest incidence occurs in teenage girls due to higher rates of pelvic pain, however musculoskeletal conditions are more likely to affect older teenage boys. Adolescents with untreated or poorly treated chronic pain often drop out of school and can become socially withdrawn and isolated, and are at risk of mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. Their families are also affected.
Sometmes adolescent pain is dismissed as a symptom of stress, but if it is ongoing it should be investigated. In some cases there may be no obvious explanation for the pain, and this can be disappointing for everyone. Intervention with prescription painkillers or surgery is not recommended. Should pain persist, ask your doctor for a referral to a paediatric pain specialist and/or paediatric pain clinic. If you live in a regional area, this may require travel to a major city, however, there may be telehealth options available. Teens aged 18 and over can access an adult pain clinic.