Pain is a frequent and significant problem for children with impairment of the central nervous system, with the highest frequency and severity occurring in children with the greatest impairment. Despite the significance of the problem, this population remains vulnerable to underrecognition and undertreatment of pain. Barriers to treatment may include uncertainty in identifying pain along with limited experience and fear with the use of medications for pain treatment. Behavioral pain-assessment tools are reviewed in this clinical report, along with other strategies for monitoring pain after an intervention. Sources of pain in this population include acute-onset pain attributable to tissue injury or inflammation resulting in nociceptive pain, with pain then expected to resolve after treatment directed at the source. Other sources can result in chronic intermittent pain that, for many, occurs on a weekly to daily basis, commonly attributed to gastroesophageal reflux, spasticity, and hip subluxation. Most challenging are pain sources attributable to the impaired central nervous system, requiring empirical medication trials directed at causes that cannot be identified by diagnostic tests, such as central neuropathic pain. Interventions reviewed include integrative therapies and medications, such as gabapentinoids, tricyclic antidepressants, α-agonists, and opioids. This clinical report aims to address, with evidence-based guidance, the inherent challenges with the goal to improve comfort throughout life in this vulnerable group of children.

Clinical Report – Reaffirmed With Reference & Data Updates

This Clinical Report has been reaffirmed with reference and data updates. New or updated references and datapoints are indicated in bold typeface. No other changes have been made to the text or content.

The AAP would like to acknowledge Julie Hauer, MD, FAAP, FAAHPM, and Amy Houtrow, MD, PhD, MPH, FAAP, for these updates.

The identification, assessment, and treatment of pain in children with severe neurologic impairment (SNI) is an important goal for clinicians involved in the care of such children. Meeting this goal is considered a significant challenge, even for clinicians with expertise in symptom treatment.1 

The International Association for the Study of Pain indicates that “the inability to communicate verbally does not negate the possibility that an individual is experiencing pain and is in need of appropriate pain-relieving treatment”2 (Table 1). There are many reasons why pain can be a significant burden for children with SNI, including their increased risk for sources of acute pain, with symptoms expected to resolve once a problem is identified and treated. An even greater challenge is recurrent or chronic pain experienced by many children with SNI, with risk including pain sources attributable to alterations in the central nervous system (CNS) that cannot be identified by diagnostic tests.

Given the complexity of identifying and treating pain in such children, pain goes unrecognized or inadequately treated all too often.5,7 In 1 study of children with cerebral palsy who experienced pain, more than 90% had experienced ongoing recurrent pain for more than 1 year, yet only half were receiving any treatment directed at pain.8 In children with progressive genetic, metabolic, or neurologic conditions with no cure, the 3 most common symptoms reported by parents were pain, sleep problems, and feeding difficulties, with symptoms often not well controlled.9 

Recurrent pain can have a significant effect on all aspects of daily life, including sleep and family interactions, and can lead to distress, anxiety, depression, irritability, insomnia, fatigue, and negative coping behaviors in the child and family members. Because chronic pain can be an outcome of many factors, a holistic approach is often needed to relieve pain and the associated problems.10 

Significant impairment of the CNS can be attributable to various etiologies and indicated by different developmental descriptors (Table 2). This clinical report focuses predominantly on children with severe to profound intellectual disability with resulting lifelong limitations in verbal communication. Most will have associated motor impairment (ie, cerebral palsy). This report is not specific to autism, because pain in this group has not been well studied, although many of the same principles may apply. The use of the term “nonverbal” reflects that most children referenced in this report are unable to verbally indicate the presence or location of pain, yet will have features that indicate pain. SNI will be used to refer to this group, reflecting severe impairment of the CNS.11 

Medical tests, procedures, and surgery are thought to be a frequent source of pain in children with SNI,12 yet in 1 study only 8% of all pain episodes were attributed to these sources.13 Pain in some is chronic, occurring on a weekly to daily basis and persisting despite treatment of problems such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and spasticity.13,17 For example, pain was noted to occur weekly in 44% of children with moderate to profound cognitive impairment and almost daily in 41% to 42% of children with severe to profound impairment, assessed by using the Non-Communicating Children’s Pain Checklist–Revised or the Pediatric Pain Profile.13,14,16 In children with moderate to severe cerebral palsy, pain was noted by parents to occur “once or twice” to “a few times” in 44% and “fairly often” to “every/almost every day” in 21% over a 4-week period.15 This information is in marked contrast to typically developing children, with only 12% identified in a large population-based survey to experience pain on a weekly basis.18 

Pain intensity is also rated high in children with SNI. Children with developmental and neuromuscular disorders were identified as 1 of 3 subgroups with high pain scores, assessed by using the Individualized Numeric Rating Scale, in a retrospective cohort analysis of more than 1.5 million documented pain scores in a tertiary pediatric medical center during a 3-year period.19 In children with severe cognitive impairment, the average pain intensity for all sources of nonaccidental pain was 6.1 on a 10-point scale (0 equaling no pain and 10 equaling the worst pain), with an average duration of 6 hours.13 In those with less impairment, specifically the ambulatory group with accidental pain, the average pain intensity was 3.8, with an average duration of 46 minutes.9 Along with pain severity, pain frequency is also noted to be higher in children with the greatest neurologic impairment.8,13,15,20 For example, pain was reported to be present in 48% of the ambulatory children with cerebral palsy compared with 79% in the nonambulatory group.8 

The goals of pain assessment are to identify the presence of pain and to track the response to interventions for pain. To meet these goals, pain-assessment tools have been developed for use in children with SNI who cannot communicate their pain experience. Such tools can educate clinicians and empower parents in recognizing specific pain behaviors in a child. When using such tools, it is beneficial to recognize both the information they provide and the limitations in their use.

Pain behaviors refer to the observable features expressed by an individual in pain (eg, facial grimacing). The observation of pain behaviors is considered a valid approach to pain assessment in those unable to self-report.21 Pain behaviors that are specific to children with SNI have been identified in studies of such children after surgery and painful procedures and by asking parents and caregivers what they observe when they believe their child is in pain. Table 3 indicates the categories and features identified on pain-assessment tools.14,22,25 

Behavioral pain-assessment tools for children with SNI are listed in Table 4.14,22,25 Such tools assist with determining the presence of pain. The use of these tools involves a detailed review with parents, caregivers, and home-based nurses, so as to determine a child’s baseline behaviors and changes from baseline when pain occurs. As examples, some children display less typical pain behaviors, such as laughing, a blunted facial expression, or self-injurious behavior.14,17,22,26,27 Parents of children with SNI consider pain identification to be an uncertain process, although they rate themselves as accurate in identifying pain in their child and quickly identified pain behaviors specific to their child when given a pain-assessment tool.13,27 

No one tool can be recommended over another. Of note, the revised Face, Legs, Activity, Cry, Consolability (r-FLACC) scale and the Individualized Numeric Rating Scale can be individualized by indicating behaviors specific to each child, with examples of pain behaviors provided.22,23 This option, not present in other tools, is important for children with atypical pain behaviors. In such children, ratings on other pain tools can then be deceptively low.

Nurses and physicians rated the r-FLACC and Nursing Assessment of Pain Intensity (NAPI) as having an overall higher clinical utility based on complexity, compatibility, and relative advantage, in a comparison of these tools with the Non-Communicating Children's Pain Checklist-Postoperative Version (NCCPC-PV).28 In several studies, nurses preferred the r-FLACC for its ease of use and pragmatic qualities, although not all tools were included for comparison.28,30 

In children with recurrent pain, assessment tools can be used to score worst and typical pain episodes, although it is important not to become overly dependent on numbers. Other information to review includes the frequency and duration of pain episodes. This information can assist in determining whether the frequency, duration, and severity of pain episodes have sufficiently decreased after a medication trial.

These pain-assessment tools (Table 4) have been studied in children identified as having intellectual disability, with the majority also identified as having cerebral palsy. Most of the children in these studies have intellectual disability in the severe to profound range, with few in the mild to moderate range. There are limited studies assessing pain behaviors in children with autism and intellectual disability, although the features identified are similar to those in children with intellectual disability without autism.31,32 In children who acquire a developmental age of 3 years or greater, age-appropriate pain-assessment tools, such as various faces pain scales, can be used.33 

In addition to pain assessment after surgery, other reasons to assess for pain behaviors and consider the use of behavioral pain assessment tools include the following:

  • When concerns are identified at routine comprehensive assessments: Parents can be asked at such visits, “Do you have concerns that your son is uncomfortable or agitated at times, or is he typically calm and easily comforted?”

  • When a child is identified to have intermittent muscle spasms and changes in body position: Determine whether pain behaviors are associated with intermittent muscle spasms and movement or whether the child appears calm during such movement.

  • When gastrointestinal symptoms, such as vomiting or feeding intolerance, are identified: Nociceptive sources (ie, pain attributable to tissue injury or inflammation) include GERD and cholecystitis and CNS sources include central neuropathic pain and autonomic dysfunction.

When pain behaviors are observed, beliefs and assumptions can interfere with considering pain as the cause. Past beliefs that are not viewed as relevant included that some children with SNI were indifferent or insensitive to pain,34 and explanations for irritability in children with SNI included psychiatric diagnoses such as bipolar affective disorder.35 

Although some parents may bring concerns about a child’s comfort to a clinician’s attention, for other parents their own beliefs can reduce the consideration of pain, such as the perception that the observed features are a natural part of the underlying condition.36 Parents may encounter uncertainty from clinicians as to the source and management of symptoms, poignantly indicated by parents who shared that their children with SNI had “learned to live with pain.”27 In addition, comfort measures, such as holding and rocking, can temporarily calm some children, with parents then assuming the responsibility of maintaining their child’s comfort, even if this requires constant vigilance. Such a child may be viewed as not having pain, even though frequent holding to maintain comfort could indirectly indicate an abnormal state of excessive hyperarousal, possibly attributable to pain.

Clinicians may assume that increased tone and movement are a result of spasticity and dystonia, rather than investigating pain as a possible cause of these findings.13,15,37 This assumption can occur when pain behaviors in children with SNI are not recognized to include alterations in tone, bodily position, and movement (Table 3). Descriptors on pain-assessment tools include “stiffens or spasms,” “spastic,” “tense,” “rigid,” “tremors,” “marked increase in spasticity,” “twists or turns,” and “arches back.”14,22,25 In a study in 22 children with SNI and persistent pain behaviors, intermittent increased tone was the most common pain behavior category, with 86% (19 of 22) of the children having recurrent muscle spasms, although 20 of 22 children were already taking one or more medications for spasticity.17 With decades of literature focusing on spasticity treatment of this population, it can be difficult to shift to a view that treatment directed at pain may be of greater benefit than another intervention directed at spasticity. The identification of other pain behaviors can guide consideration of an empirical pain treatment trial.

Various words are used to describe children with SNI in distress, including irritability and agitation (Table 1).3,38 The term “neuroirritability” has been used in children with SNI to describe a sustained activated behavioral state associated with crying or agitation during which the child is not easily consolable despite reasonable measures.4 Neuroirritability has also been used in the same manner as a diagnosis, although with no indication of the pathophysiologic mechanism.

It is helpful to distinguish such descriptive terms that are independent of etiology from the mechanisms that can cause the observed features. Consideration of language is important, because the use of such terms as “agitation” or “irritability” can inadvertently shift focus away from pain and thereby away from treatment directed at the mechanisms of action that result in pain. The use of the phrase “pain behaviors” is likely to be viewed as a problem in need of treatment, whereas agitation and neuroirritability might be viewed as indicating an irritable nervous system with less urgency given to its management. Such terms might also focus away from medication trials directed at pain mechanisms and instead result in the use of adjuvant medications, such as benzodiazepines, neuroleptics, or other sedatives.

Occasionally, concerns about pain raised by the parent or caregiver of a child with SNI may appear to be out of proportion to the observed features. It is feasible that such surrogate reporters may have emotional experiences that alter their perception of pain in their child. Parent reporting of pain that is initially not observed in the child should be reviewed carefully before considering that the child is not in pain. Parents historically have too often been reassured that their child with SNI is not experiencing pain, likely reflecting the lack of studies on pain behaviors until more recently, and ongoing assumptions of what such features indicate. Consideration of parental emotional experience warrants expertise, such as from an interdisciplinary pediatric palliative care team, rather than reassurance that the problem is not pain.

The mechanisms that generate pain include any cause of tissue injury or inflammation (nociceptive pain) or abnormal transmission of pain signals attributable to injury, dysfunction, or altered excitability in the peripheral nervous system or CNS (neuropathic pain).

Sources of acute pain in children with SNI include everyday routine discomfort, such as muscle spasms or an uncomfortable position, and pain from a new nociceptive source, such as a fracture, urinary tract infection, or other sources (highlighted in the following section). New-onset pain behaviors may also be observed with any acute illness that can result in distress. As an example, pain sources identified by parents of children with SNI included “chest congestion” and “chest infection,” likely reflecting respiratory distress.13,14 Some problems with acute onset have features that include pain behaviors, such as medication toxicity and delirium.

When a child with SNI is identified as having recurrent pain behavior episodes, it is important to consider sources attributable to altered function of the CNS (Table 5). These sources, such as central neuropathic pain and autonomic dysfunction, can either be a source of pain or have features that include pain behaviors. Children with SNI are at risk of more than one of these problems to exist. A focus on 1 problem as the source of observed pain behaviors could then limit consideration of other treatment strategies for the problems indicated in Table 5.

Tissue injury with resulting stimulation of nociceptors can be a source of acute pain, generally with resolution when the injury heals.10 This section reviews sources to consider when a child with SNI has an acute onset of significant pain behaviors.

New acute pain can be a result of common childhood problems, such as otitis media, corneal abrasion, hair tourniquet, testicular or ovarian torsion, or appendicitis. Children with SNI are also at increased risk of GERD, gastric ulcer, acute pancreatitis (associated with valproic acid and hypothermia), cholecystitis (associated with tube feedings), urinary tract infection, nephrolithiasis (associated with immobility, topiramate, and the ketogenic diet), hip subluxation, fracture (osteoporosis risk attributable to immobility and certain antiseizure drugs), and dental pain.39 Problems such as hip subluxation can be a source of symptoms in some and an incidental finding in others.

No agreed-on standard nociceptive evaluation exists for children with SNI. Decisions will be guided by history and examination, the risk of missing a specific source, and the level of invasiveness of the diagnostic study.39 History can determine when the last dental assessment occurred, whether symptoms are associated with movement (fracture or hip subluxation), whether the child has a ventriculoperitoneal shunt, and other details relevant to the potential sources. Older children with moderate intellectual disability may be able to point to the location of pain. A thorough physical examination involves examining the child unclothed. Details include determining whether pain behaviors are reproduced with movement of the gastrostomy tube and whether pain occurs with positioning or palpation of the extremities (Table 6). Parts of the examination should be isolated as much as possible to determine whether the pain response is consistently localized to 1 area. Allowing the child to calm down and relax when possible between areas of examination can minimize confounding information.

Baseline studies that may aid in the discovery of the source of pain include blood tests (basic metabolic panel, a complete blood cell count, alanine aminotransferase, total bilirubin, alkaline phosphatase, amylase, lipase), urine (urinalysis and culture), stool guaiac, gastric pH in a patient with a gastrostomy tube, and radiography or bone scan if a fracture is suspected.40,41 A dentist, ideally with expertise in children with special health care needs, can complete a dental assessment if specific concerns are identified or if there has been no dental examination in the past year. If the initial evaluation is negative, empirical treatment of GERD is often initiated while considering other tests.

After this initial assessment of a child with no history of irritability and recurrent pain behaviors, further diagnostic evaluation would be warranted. This workup may include abdominal ultrasonography or computed tomography scan, upper gastrointestinal tract series, impedance study, and endoscopy, as directed by history and examination. In a child with a history of persistent irritability that has increased over time to a level of concern for the parent, it might be reasonable to initiate an empirical medication trial directed at the CNS sources of pain behaviors while considering further diagnostic studies that are invasive. Figure 1 provides suggested guidance for this decision-making process.

Many of the features associated with certain medication toxicities include painlike behaviors.42,43 Examples include serotonin syndrome, with features including tachycardia, hypertension, sweating, hyperthermia, increased muscle tone, clonus, agitation, dilated pupils, and diarrhea.42 Medications to consider include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), linezolid, tramadol, fentanyl, metoclopramide, ondansetron, dextromethorphan, and, in some instances, several such medications used in combination.42 Another example with similar features is neuroleptic malignant syndrome attributable to dopamine antagonists, such as metoclopramide and risperidone.43 Other problems that can present with pain behaviors include paradoxical drug reactions, including to benzodiazepines, anticholinergics, SSRIs, and neuroleptics. History can determine whether a medication was started days to weeks before the onset of symptoms.

Unintentional sudden cessation or a rapid decrease in the dose of certain medications can also present with painlike behaviors. Medications include benzodiazepines, baclofen, opioids, and TCAs. Withdrawal symptoms include excitation of the CNS (agitation, muscle spasms), activation of the sympathetic nervous system (tachycardia, hypertension, diaphoresis), and gastrointestinal symptoms (vomiting, diarrhea).

Delirium is a disturbance of consciousness with an acute onset, over hours to days, and a fluctuating course. Features described in adults include disordered thinking, change in cognition, inattention, altered sleep-wake cycle, perceptual disturbances, and psychomotor disturbances.44 Features of delirium are difficult to assess in children with SNI, with some features associated with pain in this group. Triggers for delirium include medications, pain, stress, illness, infection, and metabolic disturbances.

Delirium can be an important consideration in children in the ICU, with assessment tools being developed for use with children.45,46 In 1 study of delirium in the PICU, 22 of the 111 patients were identified as having significant developmental delay. Use of the Cornell Assessment of Pediatric Delirium tool in this group had a low specificity of 51.2%, compared with a specificity of 86.5% in those without delay, with an overall specificity of 79.2%.45 This study highlights the challenge of distinguishing problems that have overlapping presenting features in children with SNI.

Chronic pain is continuous or recurrent pain that may involve a persistent noxious stimulus or persist in the absence of an identifiable pathophysiology. As noted earlier, some children with SNI have recurrent pain episodes rather than acute pain episodes that resolve after treatment of a nociceptive source. When a child with SNI first presents because of symptoms reaching a threshold for parental concern, history can identify the child with long-standing irritability and agitation as potential indicators of chronic pain.

Children with long-standing irritability may have had repeated tests and interventions for commonly recognized problems, such as treatment directed at GERD and spasticity. Chronic symptoms may be attributed to these problems, potentially limiting consideration of other coexisting pain sources as triggers. Children with SNI are also vulnerable to repeat testing over months in the search for a cause, with delayed consideration of empirical medication trials directed at CNS sources (Table 5) that cannot be identified by diagnostic tests. Repeat testing exposes such children to potential harm from invasive testing and delayed pain management.

It is also possible to have an abnormal finding that is not the source of symptoms. Examples include a child with persistent symptoms after cholecystectomy, with improvement after starting gabapentin,40 and 2 children identified by colonoscopy to have nonspecific colitis, with no improvement or escalation in symptoms after antiinflammatory treatment with significant improvement after the use of a TCA or gabapentin.47 At times, empirical treatment can help avoid invasive testing and unclear findings from tests.

Neuropathic pain is attributable to damage or dysfunction of the peripheral nerves (peripheral neuropathic pain) or the CNS (central neuropathic pain). Neuropathic pain has some characteristics that are different from nociceptive pain. Pain descriptors in those able to report include burning, shocklike, shooting, prickling, or needlelike pain. Pain can be persistent or recurrent, including pain that occurs spontaneously with no known trigger. Neuropathic pain can be difficult to treat but is often managed with nontraditional analgesic drugs, such as antidepressants and anticonvulsants. Benefit from medications used for neuropathic pain may provide indirect evidence of this chronic pain source in children with SNI.17,47,50 

Neuropathic pain can result in pain from a stimulus that does not normally result in pain (allodynia) or an increased pain response to a painful stimulus (hyperalgesia). Neuropathic pain is suggested in children with SNI by higher baseline pain ratings when they are not considered to be in pain and the significant intensity and duration of symptoms that were attributed to routine problems.8,13,14,27,28,51 Examples that suggest hyperalgesia include constipation, with an average intensity of 6.2 out of 10 and a duration of 24.5 hours, and teething, with an average intensity of 5.2 out of 10 and a duration of 18.5 hours.13 

Surgery can be a risk to the development of neuropathic pain. Persistent pain has been reported in 10% to 50% of adults after common surgeries, becoming severe in 2% to 10% of these patients.52 One case series of 6 children with cerebral palsy identified neuropathic pain after orthopedic surgery of the lower extremities.53 In addition, some diseases of the nervous system have associated painful peripheral neuropathy.

Central neuropathic pain can develop when injury or disease of the CNS involves the thalamus or spinothalamic tract.54,56 Central neuropathic pain is best studied in adults with such problems as multiple sclerosis (MS) or after a cerebral vascular accident. Thalamic MRI findings have been reported with various conditions, including metabolic and genetic disorders (Leigh syndrome, Krabbe disease, Canavan disease, Alexander disease, gangliosidosis, neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis, Rett syndrome), infections (cytomegalovirus, toxoplasmosis), osmotic demyelination syndrome, and hypoxic-ischemic injury.57,60 This information suggests a risk for central neuropathic pain in children with SNI but does not indicate which child may develop symptoms attributable to this problem. The symptoms experienced with central neuropathic pain can be constant and involve sudden bursts of intense pain. Other symptoms include visceral pain associated with distention of the gastrointestinal tract and bladder, described by 1 adult as feeling “like my bowels will explode.”61 

Visceral hyperalgesia is an altered threshold to pain generation in response to a stimulus in the gastrointestinal tract.62 As a result, a normal stimulus, such as distention and pressure within the gastrointestinal tract, or minor tissue injury, such as from GERD, can result in significant pain. Injury or inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract is believed to cause sensitization of visceral afferent pathways, with resulting visceral hyperalgesia.62,63 Visceral hyperalgesia may also be referred to as visceral dysesthesia, indicating an unpleasant sensation (Table 1).

Studies identify the gastrointestinal tract as 1 of the most common sources of recurrent pain in children with SNI, despite treatment of common sources such as GERD and constipation.13,15,17,64,65 Pain attributed to the bowels is also noted to have a high pain intensity of 7.5 out of 10, second only to pain of unknown cause.13 Such information suggests visceral hyperalgesia and central neuropathic pain as potential sources for recurrent pain behaviors in children with SNI.

Visceral hyperalgesia was identified as the source of gastrointestinal symptoms in 12 of 14 medically fragile children, most with cerebral palsy, with symptoms that persisted after medications for GERD and Nissen fundoplication.63 Fewer were identified to have impaired gastrointestinal tract motility. Of those, 7 had both impaired gastrointestinal tract motility and visceral hyperalgesia, and only 2 of the 14 children had a motility disorder as the sole problem identified.63 In another study, gastrointestinal symptoms were noted in 14 of 22 children with SNI and persistent pain, all of whom were receiving treatment of GERD.17 In both studies, medications used to treat visceral hyperalgesia and central neuropathic pain resulted in improvement in symptoms, including decreased vomiting and retching, improved feeding tolerance, weight gain, and change from jejunostomy to gastrostomy tube feedings.17,63 

Nissen fundoplication and gastrostomy tube placement may be another risk to visceral sensitization of the gastrointestinal tract. Higher levels of pain in response to the same degree of gastric distention were identified after Nissen fundoplication.66 In addition, parents of children with SNI have reported an increase in pain symptoms after the placement of a gastrostomy tube.67 

Information from history can suggest visceral hyperalgesia and/or central neuropathic pain as potential sources of gastrointestinal tract symptoms in children with SNI. Questions include those that suggest a lower threshold to pain generation in the gastrointestinal tract and may include a history of pain associated with gastrostomy or jejunostomy tube feedings, bowel gas, and pain before a bowel movement, with relief after the passing of stool. Such pain sources may also be suggested by a decrease in symptoms when formula by feeding tube is substituted with an electrolyte solution or tube feedings are held while intravenous fluids are provided. Such information from history suggests a decrease in the threshold to the generation of painful symptoms from gastrointestinal tract stimulation.

Autonomic dysfunction is another potential source for pain behaviors in children with SNI.8,68 Other terms include dysautonomia, autonomic storm, sympathetic storm, thalamic storm, and paroxysmal autonomic instability with dystonia. Features that suggest autonomic dysfunction include altered heart rate and body temperature; pale skin or flushing of the skin; retching, vomiting, and abdominal pain; sweating; and increased production of saliva.69,71 Some features are the same behaviors associated with pain, and others can contribute to discomfort.

For a child with persistent agitation and pain behaviors, EEG might be considered to determine whether movement associated with the events is attributable to seizures. EEG warrants careful consideration, because it is possible for a child to have results indicating seizure activity while simultaneously having a pain source that alters the threshold to seizures. Seizures in adults are not typically viewed as painful.72 Discomfort can be experienced in the postictal period because of repeated movement or injury.

In children with SNI and recurrent pain behaviors, it can be unclear whether associated spasticity or dystonia are the direct cause of pain behaviors or if a chronic pain source is triggering any observed changes in tone and movement. When pain behaviors coexist with spasticity or dystonia, children with SNI may benefit from a multimodal approach, including interventions directed at chronic pain sources as well as spasticity or dystonia.

Spasticity is defined as hypertonia in which stretching the muscle at increasing speed results in higher tone or resistance to externally imposed movement.73 Spasticity is often not painful, but over time it can result in painful musculoskeletal injury. In addition, intense muscle spasms can result in intermittent pain. Spasticity and muscle spasms can be increased by acute illness and pain. Dystonia is a movement disorder characterized by involuntary muscle contractions that lead to repetitive twisting movements and/or abnormal postures.73 Like spasticity, dystonia is not typically painful, and pain from any source can increase movements associated with dystonia.

Hip subluxation/dislocation is a potential source of chronic nociceptive pain. Because this problem is common in nonambulatory children with SNI, it may be an incidental finding in the evaluation for a pain source.74 Interventions for this problem warrant consideration when positioning, transferring, bathing, dressing, and diaper care are difficult to conduct because of pain or limitations in range of motion.

Children with SNI are at risk of several sources of pain behaviors. A child may have GERD or spasticity as well as central neuropathic pain. Coexisting sources of pain may only be evident after symptoms improve, yet remain troublesome after the treatment of such problems. The presence of more than 1 source of pain may also be suspected by symptoms that are out of proportion to the problem, such as prolonged and severe crying associated with constipation in a child with central pain. By considering more than 1 source, such children may experience symptom improvement sooner.

Treatment of pain starts with a comprehensive evaluation, with an initial goal to identify and treat the cause whenever possible. Some sources, such as pain from a fracture, require temporary treatment of pain. The greater challenge is when pain behaviors have been identified as recurrent or chronic. General principles for pain treatment can serve as a guide throughout this process. Initial considerations include tailoring therapy to each child on the basis of the severity, frequency, and duration of episodes and the expected outcome after an empirical medication trial directed at potential chronic pain sources, along with close follow-up and availability throughout this process.10 

A tool to guide medication selection, referred to as the analgesic ladder and originally applied to cancer pain, was developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1986. It was revised recently for children from a 3-step to a 2-step ladder because of concerns that the previous second step10 included codeine, a medication that is no longer routinely recommended given the recognized concerns with safety and efficacy related to genetic variability in metabolism.75,76 Tramadol was also included in the second step, although the WHO suggests that the risks associated with strong opioids such as morphine are acceptable when compared with the uncertainty of response and risk associated with tramadol in children.10 

The first step is used for mild pain and includes the use of nonopioid analgesics. The second step is used for moderate to severe pain and includes the use of opioid analgesics, starting with a lower dose for moderate pain. Adjuvant medications can be used at either step. These include medications such as anticonvulsants and antidepressants that can provide benefit for specific types of pain, such as neuropathic pain, or others that can enhance the benefit of medications used for pain treatment.

Other pain treatment principles guided by the WHO include “by the clock,” “by the mouth,” and “by the child,”10 which indicates that treatment should be scheduled when pain is frequent, with rescue doses of analgesics or other appropriate medications available as needed. Medications should be given by the least-invasive route, such as enteral, buccal, or transdermal, and be tailored to the child’s needs and response to treatment. Intramuscular injection is not an appropriate option for analgesia, given the other delivery options available.

It is unclear how well the WHO analgesic ladder applies to children with SNI, because it has not been studied in this population, but the principles of its use with patients with cancer apply. Children with SNI may be more likely to have chronic pain attributable to impairment of the CNS (Table 5), and not all central sources respond to opioids. Medications directed at these CNS sources of pain behaviors (Table 7) may have a preferential role in children with SNI before the use of an around-the-clock opioid. In recognition of these issues, an alternative to the WHO analgesic ladder was proposed for use in children with SNI and recurrent pain, indicated as the “neuro-pain” ladder.50 

Because there is no standard approach to pain and symptom treatment in children with SNI,48 empirical medication selection for persistent pain behaviors is best guided first by the safety of medications, with information on their efficacy for chronic sources of pain primarily guided by evidence in adults. The proposed neuro-pain ladder for children with SNI and persistent pain behaviors takes this approach, such as suggesting a gabapentin trial before a TCA or methadone.

Fears commonly experienced when considering medications for pain, especially opioids, include harm, drug addiction, masking pain from a new problem, and giving up too soon on identifying a pain source. Fear of respiratory depression is 1 of the greatest barriers to opioid use. Knowing the intent of pain treatment can assist when considering this risk. For example, opioid use after surgery involves monitoring to identify and manage respiratory depression, meeting the intent to safely promote comfort and avoid any harm. In contrast, when the intention to relieve pain is the primary and overriding goal in a child with a life-limiting condition, accepting the low risk of respiratory depression is ethically permissible, along with forgoing monitoring at such a time. The risk of significant respiratory depression is low when following evidence-based dosing guidelines and slow titration, from a starting dose that is individualized to the patient. When available, expert consultation may be considered. Fears should not interfere with adequate symptom treatment. Rather, access to expertise or the advancement of one’s own expertise through education can provide guidance on how to safely start opioids as well as other medications, monitor for effectiveness and adverse effects, adjust the dose as needed, and consider other treatment options when symptoms have not adequately improved.

The association of opioid use with end-of-life care can create the assumption that opioids hasten death. Opioids do not hasten death when used appropriately and can enhance comfort throughout life. In a case series of children with SNI on scheduled morphine for recurrent respiratory distress with associated pain behaviors, 1 parent said, “I think [my son] has lived this long due to his improved comfort, [as] he used to struggle so much with each illness,” a sentiment shared by several parents and primary nurses.77 Once parents observe benefit from symptom treatment, clinician fear may continue and interfere with ongoing use of medications, adjustment in dosage, and additional trials when needed. Although physicians were aware of the benefit of opioids for severe dyspnea in adults, a significant gap remained between the benefit experienced by patients and family caregivers and physician fear over the use of opioids.78 

Parental fear of addiction can be addressed by reviewing the difference between physical dependence and drug addiction. Parents can be informed of the need to slowly taper off of a medication so as to avoid withdrawal symptoms from a sudden stop or reduction in the medication’s dose. In contrast, drug addiction refers to a psychological desire and dependence on a drug.

Another commonly held fear is that effective pain treatment will mask pain from a new pain source, but this does not occur, as noted in a case series of children with SNI when, at a time of effective symptom management of recurrent pain behaviors, urinary tract infections in 3 patients were identified by the onset of new pain behaviors.17 

Pain-management techniques should be used for painful procedures. Strategies include medications along with nonpharmacologic interventions, such as music, distraction, and holding.79 Medication delivery options for procedural pain management include topical, enteral, intravenous, intranasal, and inhaled medications.80,82 There are numerous guidelines and policy statements for pain management,80 yet pain during procedures for children is often undertreated.82 

The management of postoperative pain ideally involves an interdisciplinary team of providers to assess and monitor pain and make adjustments as needed. The family can be engaged in all phases, from plan development through implementation and monitoring. The plan can include preemptive management of constipation that can be made worse by anesthesia and opioids.

Postoperative pain management, including the use of intravenous opioids in children with SNI, requires a team with expertise in safe pain management. Benzodiazepines may play an adjuvant role in the postoperative management of children with spasticity. For lower extremity orthopedic surgery, some physicians use botulinum toxin injections to help diminish the effects of postoperative spasticity, which is especially helpful in the child who is immobilized for several weeks.83 Perioperative gabapentin may aid in reducing pain and opioid need after surgery, as noted in children undergoing spinal fusion.84,85 Epidural analgesia is also a consideration for select patients.86,88 

An empirical analgesic trial can be considered when pain behaviors continue.21 There is no absolute “tipping point” when the severity, frequency, and duration of episodes with pain behaviors warrant an empirical medication trial versus further diagnostic testing. Consideration of central sources of symptoms with parents can minimize the assumption that testing will eventually identify the source to be treated, which may facilitate earlier initiation of a medication trial directed at the chronic pain sources that cannot be identified by diagnostic tests. Initiating an empirical medication trial while considering invasive tests, such as endoscopy or impedance study, can then avoid the need for such tests when symptoms improve. An empirical trial can also be considered before surgical interventions for GERD and spasticity with associated pain behaviors, potentially avoiding surgery if there is adequate improvement in symptoms.

Guiding principles for treatment of recurrent pain behavior episodes in children with SNI include frequency and duration of events. Infrequent episodes may be adequately managed with a medication used as needed, along with nonpharmacologic strategies. When episodes occur weekly, a scheduled medication can be considered, with the goal to minimize the frequency, duration, and severity of episodes. Occasionally, a child may have a monthly cycle of pain, such as a male with SNI described as having daily severe symptoms for 7 to 10 days each month for at least 4 years, with a significant benefit noted after several medication trials directed at neuropathic pain.17 

Setting realistic goals can better prepare families throughout the process of treatment directed at chronic pain sources, reflecting the inability to “fix” the sources of chronic pain that arise from the impaired nervous system. One can acknowledge the hoped-for goal of improved symptom control while recognizing that the hoped-for benefit might not always be achieved.

Interventions start with daily management of expected sources of discomfort in children with SNI, such as repositioning. The ability to console the child with such interventions, along with other comfort strategies, indicates that routine needs have been met. In children with persistent pain behaviors despite such strategies, medications (Table 7) and nonpharmacologic strategies can be considered and used. Experts in pain treatment, such as pain or palliative medicine specialists, can be consulted when needed.

Medications used for mild pain include acetaminophen and nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs.10 Adverse effects with the chronic use of nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs include gastritis and gastrointestinal bleeding. Lack of benefit may indirectly indicate a problem more significant than a routine ache or pain. At such a time, an empirical trial directed at chronic pain sources can be considered. There is still an ongoing role for these medications given the benefit when used in combination.

The analgesic effect of tramadol includes weak μ-opioid agonist activity and weak reuptake inhibition of norepinephrine and serotonin.89,90 The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently issued a warning indicating that tramadol should not be used to treat pain in children younger than 12 years and a warning against its use in adolescents between 12 and 18 years who are obese or have conditions such as obstructive sleep apnea or severe lung disease, which may increase the risk of respiratory depression and death.91 Some individuals, because of genetic variations, are ultrarapid metabolizers who convert tramadol more rapidly and completely to O-desmethyltramadol, the active form of the opioid, resulting in this risk. The WHO analgesic ladder for children recommends a strong opioid started at a lower dose for moderate pain rather than the use of tramadol.10 In older patients, tramadol must be used with caution in those with a seizure disorder, receiving medications that are CYP2D6 and CYP3A4 inhibitors, and on medications that are associated with serotonin syndrome.42,92 

Opioid use requires knowledge of dosing, titration, adverse effects, and when to consider opioid rotation, information covered in greater detail elsewhere.89,90 Opioid use in children with SNI includes the management of acute nociceptive pain, acute breakthrough pain that occurs despite use of scheduled medications for chronic pain sources, and intermittent autonomic storms or dyspnea.77 

If an opioid is the only medication being used for frequent pain, it is best scheduled around the clock on the basis of duration of benefit, typically every 4 hours when given enterally, with a dose available as needed for breakthrough pain.10 Monitoring will determine when the scheduled dose needs to be adjusted.

One limitation of opioid use for chronic pain in children with feeding tubes is the frequency of dosing required with short-acting opioids and fewer long-acting options. Options of longer duration include methadone solution or a fentanyl transdermal patch. The fentanyl patch should not be used to manage acute pain. Long-acting morphine pellet-filled capsules can be given by gastrostomy tube if the equivalent daily dose of short-acting morphine converts to the capsule doses available, by suspending the pellets in water and administering in a gastrostomy tube that is 16 F or larger, although care must be taken not to crush or dissolve the pellets.93,94 This process is in contrast to long-acting tablets, which cannot be opened or crushed and therefore cannot be given in a feeding tube.

Methadone is the only long-acting opioid available as a liquid. The analgesic effects of methadone include μ-opioid agonist activity and N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor antagonist against glutamate, an excitatory neurotransmitter in the CNS, providing theoretical added benefit for children with SNI and chronic pain. Its use requires expertise, given its biphasic elimination and alterations in metabolism with other drugs.95,96 Potential drug interactions include many medications used commonly for children with SNI, including phenobarbital, phenytoin, carbamazepine, ciprofloxacin, diazepam, metronidazole, and erythromycin.95,96 

When opioids are used, adverse effects need to be anticipated and managed.89,90 In children with SNI, the risk of respiratory depression can be minimized by attending to patient details, such as the presence of severe hypotonia and obstructive apnea, and determining whether other sedating medications were recently started. Constipation is best managed preemptively by initiating treatment that includes a stimulant laxative and is not limited to stool softeners or by increasing any treatment already in use for constipation.89 Itching can also occur, a problem to consider if new agitation is noted. Management options include opioid rotation, ondansetron, and opioid antagonists. Antihistamines are not effective, because opioid-induced itching is not histamine mediated. Other adverse effects of opioid use include sedation, usually transient, and urinary retention.

Not all children with SNI and severe pain behaviors will respond to opioids, as noted in case reports.49,50 Short-acting opioids may be best used in the postsurgical period, when a pain source such as a fracture is expected to resolve, and on an as-needed basis for breakthrough episodes. When needed, experts in pediatric pain and palliative care can assist with the use of long-acting opioid forms.

Gabapentin and pregabalin are the most commonly used anticonvulsants for neuropathic pain. Evidence, mostly in adults, indicates benefit for many of the chronic pain sources reviewed earlier, including peripheral neuropathic pain,97,100 central neuropathic pain,54,56,100 visceral hyperalgesia,63,101,103 autonomic dysfunction,69,104 and spasticity.105 Gabapentin is approved by the FDA for use in postherpetic neuralgia in adults, adjunctive therapy in the treatment of partial seizures with and without secondary generalization in patients over 12 years of age with epilepsy, and adjunctive therapy in the treatment of partial seizures in pediatric patients 3 to 12 years of age. FDA-approved indications for pregabalin include postherpetic neuralgia in adults and diabetic peripheral neuropathy. The use of gabapentin and pregabalin for the treatment of potential pain sources in children with SNI is off-label, as is commonly the case in pediatrics.

Gabapentinoids are considered first-line medications for neuropathic pain in adults.98,100 Several case reports and 2 different case series of children with SNI indicated a reduction in pain behavior episodes as well as an improvement in muscle spasms, feeding intolerance, and sleep after treatment with gabapentin.17,47,50,106 

The analgesic mechanism is not fully understood, although gabapentinoids are noted to bind to presynaptic voltage-gated calcium channels in the dorsal horn, reducing the release of excitatory neurotransmitters such as glutamate and substance P.107 Pregabalin has an advantage of twice-daily dosing in older children, although there is less information regarding its use compared with gabapentin in children. Pregabalin also has linear pharmacokinetics compared with gabapentin’s decreasing bioavailability at higher doses, although there are no data to indicate whether differences in absorption are clinically significant in children. Both require dose reductions in children with renal insufficiency and appear to be similar in their adverse-effect profiles, including no known drug-drug interactions.98,99 

Given the limited evidence in treating persistent and recurrent pain behavior episodes in children with SNI, gabapentin may be reasonable in a first-line empirical trial on the basis of its safety and theoretical benefit for central pain sources (Fig 2). Clinicians routinely involved in the care of children with SNI can pursue knowledge in its use, including starting dose, titration, initial goal dose, and potential adverse effects (Table 8). Gabapentin dosing in children indicates that children younger than 5 years need a 30% higher dose, with doses up to 72 mg/kg per day (3600 mg/day) reported.17,108,109 In adults, doses up to 3600 mg/day are used, although doses greater than 2400 mg/day may have incrementally less benefit. To provide an adequate empirical trial, such information is important when determining the initial dose to achieve.

Nortriptyline and amitriptyline have been used to treat peripheral neuropathic pain,101,103 central neuropathic pain,54,56,100 and visceral hyperalgesia.63,101 Their mechanisms of action include presynaptic reuptake inhibition of norepinephrine and serotonin, resulting in the modulation of descending inhibition from the CNS.100 Both also have anticholinergic properties, with subsequent adverse effects including sedation, constipation, and urinary retention, along with possible benefit because of decreased secretion production. Adverse effects can be lessened with a slow titration to the initial goal dose. Nortriptyline has a lower anticholinergic effect, although it is unclear whether this is clinically significant in children. TCAs should be used cautiously with other medications that can result in serotonin syndrome. Other risk factors include potential cardiac dysrhythmia, including prolonged QT interval. For these reasons, TCAs require expertise in their use.

Nortriptyline and amitriptyline are considered first- or second-line treatment of neuropathic pain in adults.98,100 They have the benefit of once- or twice-daily dosing. Given the lack of evidence in children with SNI and potential adverse effects, a TCA might be a reasonable second-line medication after a trial with a gabapentinoid in such children with recurrent pain behaviors (Fig 2). A TCA can be started while continuing gabapentin, an approach supported by 1 study that identified greater benefit with the combination of gabapentin and nortriptyline over either 1 given solely for neuropathic pain in adults.110 

The combination of 2 or more medications for neuropathic pain may improve analgesic efficacy and reduce overall adverse effects if synergistic benefit allows for dose reductions.111,112 Combinations studied for neuropathic pain include gabapentin plus nortriptyline, gabapentinoid plus opioid, and TCA plus opioid. General principles when considering a combination include selecting medications with the following: (1) maximal efficacy, the fewest adverse effects, and minimal adverse interactions with other drugs; (2) minimal adverse drug interaction with each other; (3) different adverse-effect profiles; (4) different mechanisms of action; and (5) different sites of action.111,Figure 2 provides suggested guidelines to a stepwise approach by using such evidence as well as information from the neuro-pain ladder and guidelines from adults with neuropathic pain.50,98,100 

Clonidine is an α2-agonist used in the treatment of spasticity113 and autonomic dysfunction.114 It also has potential mild analgesia through the inhibition of substance P release.115 Clonidine may have a role in symptom treatment of children with SNI when associated problems include significant hypertonia or when features suggest autonomic dysfunction. Clonidine also has a suggested benefit in reducing pain perception during gastric and colonic distension.116 Adverse effects of sedation and hypotension can be lessened with a gradual increase to the initial goal dose. Children with SNI who are unable to stand independently will not have the risk of orthostatic hypotension and associated fall. In children with associated sleep disruption, it can be used at nighttime to enhance sleep and to minimize problems such as muscle spasms that can disrupt sleep. Clonidine should not be discontinued abruptly because of the risk of rebound hypertension.

Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) are considered first- or second-line therapy for adults with neuropathic pain.98,100 Studies are predominantly in adult patients with peripheral neuropathic pain, with fewer studies for central pain. Studies in children are limited to adolescent patients with depression. SNRIs include venlafaxine immediate release, which can be crushed and given by feeding tube, and duloxetine, which cannot be crushed, because it is an extended-release capsule. SNRIs have a greater benefit for neuropathic pain than SSRIs, with SSRIs indicated as fourth-line therapy for neuropathic pain in adults. The reuptake inhibition of norepinephrine is thought to be beneficial against neuropathic pain, a property shared by SNRIs and TCAs but not with SSRIs.

Antiseizure drugs are used in adults with neuropathic pain, including valproic acid, carbamazepine, oxcarbazepine, lamotrigine, and topiramate. Studies in adults with peripheral neuropathic pain showed mixed results, and there are few studies in adults with central neuropathic pain. Overall, they are considered third- or fourth-line treatment of peripheral and central neuropathic pain in adults.98,100 Their role in children with SNI and persistent pain behaviors is unclear.

Dronabinol is the synthetic form of δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol, an active compound of the cannabis plant. Dronabinol has been studied in adult patients with MS and traumatic brain injury.117 Benefit for central pain and spasticity has been shown in patients with MS.100,117 Other cannabinoid therapies used in adults include nabilone, a synthetic cannabinoid, and nabiximols, a cannabis extract that is available in the United Kingdom and other countries but not in the United States.100,118 Such therapies are suggested as third-line treatment of neuropathic pain in adults.100,118 In a recent policy statement, the American Academy of Pediatrics opposed the use of medical marijuana outside the regulatory process of the FDA but recognizes that marijuana may be an option for cannabinoid administration for children with life-limiting or severely debilitating conditions and for whom current therapies are inadequate.119 Although the data in adults indicate benefit for chronic neuropathic pain as well as spasticity in patients with MS, no studies have been performed on the use of medical marijuana in children. The American Academy of Pediatrics supports the research and development of pharmaceutical cannabinoids and supports a review of policies promoting research on the medical use of these compounds.119 

Benzodiazepines are commonly used in children with SNI for spasticity, dystonia, seizures, dysautonomia, agitation, and sleep. Tolerance can develop with daily, prolonged use. Increasing the dose as tolerance develops may increase the risk of adverse effects. It can become difficult to separate out potential sedation or paradoxical effects, such as agitation and irritability, from problems attributable to the impaired CNS.120,121 

There are times when the benefit of daily use of a benzodiazepine may outweigh the disadvantage of tolerance and other concerns, such as the use of clonazepam for certain seizure types. For other indications, such as for intermittent muscle spasms, autonomic storms, or prolonged seizures, benzodiazepines might be ideally used as needed.

Other considerations include drug-drug interactions with midazolam, diazepam, and clonazepam as a result of metabolism by the P450 enzyme system.122,124 In contrast, lorazepam is metabolized by conjugation. Children started on clonazepam should be monitored for the development of significant saliva production and bronchial secretions, possibly a greater risk in younger children.125,126 Midazolam is highly fat soluble, which can result in accumulation over time. Continuous use in the hospital can result in accumulation and prolonged sedation.127 These considerations for midazolam are relevant to children with SNI, given the greater percentage of fat for body weight.128,129 

Sudden cessation should be avoided, because withdrawal can occur. Withdrawal can result in such symptoms as jitteriness, agitation, anxiety, increased heart rate, muscle cramps, disrupted sleep, gastrointestinal upset, and heightened sensitivity to light and sound. One review of benzodiazepine tapering after long-term use suggested a taper over 8 to 12 weeks, such as decreasing by 10% of the original dose every 7 days.130 If persistent pain behaviors in a child with SNI are successfully managed after other medication trials, tapering of a benzodiazepine can be considered.

Used for agitation and delirium, it is unclear what role antipsychotics, including atypical antipsychotics such as risperidone, have in the management of persistent pain behaviors in children with SNI. Evidence in adults is lacking, with adverse effects needing to be considered before use as an add-on therapy for pain.131 Antipsychotics should not be used as the sole therapy when children with SNI have persistent pain behaviors. When used, adverse effects are an important consideration.

Antipsychotics, as well as SSRIs, have been used in children with self-injurious behaviors with variable benefit. Self-injurious behaviors are also identified as pain behaviors (Table 3). Recent literature has suggested neuropathic pain as a trigger for observed self-injurious behaviors.132,133 Medications directed at central sources of pain are options to consider before the use of antipsychotics and SSRIs.

The treatment of spasticity includes baclofen, a γ-aminobutyric acid agonist.113,134 The major adverse effect of sedation can be minimized by titrating the dose slowly. There is also concern that baclofen can potentiate seizures in children with cerebral palsy.135 Other medications for spasticity include tizanidine, clonidine, and dantrolene.113,134 Benzodiazepines for spasticity may best be reserved for intermittent or short-term use.134 

Intramuscular injections of botulinum toxin for focal spasticity can have benefit for associated pain in some children with cerebral palsy.136,137 In studies in adults, botulinum toxin had some efficacy for neuropathic pain with localized symptoms.138 

The placement of an intrathecal baclofen pump allows for the delivery of continuous and/or pulse doses. The reduction in spasticity with intrathecal baclofen is well documented, with limited evidence regarding pain relief.139 Complications with intrathecal baclofen include malfunction, infection, overdose, and withdrawal.140 Selective dorsal rhizotomy is another surgical option for spasticity, although it is best suited for children with spastic diplegia who are ambulatory and cognitively intact.141 

Interventions for dystonia include medications and surgically placed devices. Such interventions are less effective in children with secondary dystonia than those with primary dystonia, likely reflecting the coexistence of other problems of the CNS.142,143 Medications include baclofen, trihexyphenidyl, and carbidopa/levodopa, yet only baclofen has FDA-approved dosing for children.142 Benzodiazepines, neuroleptics, muscle relaxants, and presynaptic dopamine-depleting medications have all been used with varying success.143 Intramuscular botulinum toxin and intrathecal baclofen are also options. A randomized trial of intrathecal baclofen for dystonic cerebral palsy, including its impact on pain, is ongoing.144 In a subset of patients with significant dystonia, implantation of a deep-brain stimulator into the globus pallidus can be considered.142 

Nonpharmacologic strategies to lessen the effects of spasticity and dystonia include brace and positioning, passive stretching, massage, and warm baths. When pain behaviors are associated with spasticity and dystonia, medication trials for chronic pain sources can be considered before pursuing surgical interventions.17,143 

Interventions for hip subluxation/dislocation that results in pain or limitations in movement include botulinum toxin injections around the hip joint to improve range of motion and comfort.137 Surgical interventions can also provide symptom relief.145,148 The consideration for surgery ideally involves an interdisciplinary team of providers and shared goal setting with the family, given the potential risks and lengthy recovery period for some children, including pain for up to 6 months.146 

Children with SNI may be noted to have symptom escalation before a bowel movement or with urinary retention. As discussed in the sections on central neuropathic pain and visceral hyperalgesia, this symptom escalation may reflect an altered threshold to symptom generation at times of visceral distention. Some children will have adequate symptom benefit from interventions that lessen distention, including the management of constipation that results in a daily bowel movement, the use of a suppository during times of persistent symptoms to determine whether colonic distention is a trigger (ie, resolution of symptoms after a bowel movement), and the use of intermittent urinary catheterization. Bowel medications for consideration include polyethylene glycol, lactulose, senna, suppositories, and enemas.150 The nonpharmacologic strategies reviewed next can also be beneficial. When symptoms associated with visceral distention occur weekly after such interventions, the use of a scheduled medication directed at neuropathic pain/visceral hyperalgesia may lessen the frequency, severity, and duration of associated symptoms.

Nonpharmacologic interventions are an important part of symptom management for all children with SNI. Simple strategies include tight swaddling, cuddling, rocking, repositioning, and massage.89 Supportive equipment, such as seating systems and supportive pillows, can minimize positional pain. Other interventions include warm baths, weighted blankets, and music. Audiotherapy has also been shown to decrease pain postoperatively in pediatric patients.150 Complementary and integrative therapies can include essential oils, Reiki, and acupuncture, with evidence of efficacy being notably limited in this population.151 A trusting relationship with families can enhance the disclosure of alternative medicines being used, which can be relevant to drug interactions or sources of symptoms. An example is the risk of serotonin syndrome with St John’s wort, ginseng, and tryptophan, when used in combination with other drugs.

Vibratory stimulation is reported as being beneficial for some with chronic pain.152,154 Products available include vibrating mats and pillows. Parents may also observe their child appearing relaxed and comfortable when using high-frequency chest-wall oscillation vest therapy for mucous mobilization. Other sensory techniques include transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation when neuropathic pain can be well localized.155 The potential benefit of vibratory stimulation and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation is based on the gate-control theory of pain in which a nonpainful stimulus can enhance the inhibition of nociceptive transmission.154,155 

Distention of the gastrointestinal tract is an important consideration, given the lower threshold to symptom generation in some children.17,61,63,66 Strategies for symptoms triggered by gastrointestinal tract distention include gastrostomy tube venting, equipment that allows venting during feedings, and a decrease in the total volume of fluids and nutrition given by feeding tube, which is important given the risk of overestimating metabolism and fluid needs. The greatest risk factors for overestimating energy expenditure by 30% or greater in children with SNI include chronic hypothermia, limited movement of extremities, placement of an intrathecal baclofen pump, successful pain treatment with a reduction in intermittent muscle spasms, and declining health with declining activity.17,128,156,160 Fluid needs can also be overestimated, given that metabolic expenditure accounts for more than half of fluid estimation, with fluid estimation based on weight then overestimating what is required to maintain hydration. Increased insensible fluid loss, such as that attributable to intermittent hyperthermia, sweating, or a tracheostomy, is also a consideration when estimating fluid needs.

This report focuses on children with severe intellectual disability who lack verbal communication, but there are some specific conditions that warrant mention. Children with cerebral palsy and pain will often have worsening muscle tensing and spasms during pain episodes. In contrast, children with intellectual disability and autism would not be expected to have pronounced muscle spasms with pain. These differences can affect the utility of different pain-assessment tools. In addition, there have been few studies specifically looking at pain assessment in children with autism. Such children may have behavioral features that complicate the process of pain assessment. In general, the same principles of pain assessment will apply to all children with intellectual disability, with or without cerebral palsy or autism. Pain assessment includes identifying individual baseline characteristics as well as features that suggest pain, as noted by those most familiar with the child. In such children with chronic recurrent pain behaviors, pain treatment will require an empirical trial along with use of nonpharmacologic strategies (Figs 1 and 2). Children with less impairment of the CNS (eg, mild intellectual disability without cerebral palsy) likely have a lower incidence of pain sources attributable to the CNS. In children with autism, nonanalgesic medication categories have been studied for the management of distressing behaviors that overlap with pain behaviors, including SSRIs, antipsychotics, naltrexone, and clonidine. As noted earlier, neuropathic pain has been suggested as a trigger for self-injurious behaviors, a feature more commonly seen in those with autism and severe intellectual disability.132,133 Other considerations and interventions, including a search for triggers and behavioral management strategies, are clearly warranted for this complex problem. In children with intellectual disability and pain, these subgroups are important considerations with the assessment and treatment of pain as well as with future studies.

Although pain can often be improved by implementing the interventions discussed previously, the optimal treatment of pain in children with SNI often requires considerable time and effort to achieve and is most likely accomplished if the overall treatment of pain for the child is guided by some broader management strategies and considerations. Optimal pain treatment includes care coordination with various providers involved with the child’s medical home. Specialty involvement regarding potential sources and pain-management strategies may include neurology, physical medicine and rehabilitation, complex care, gastroenterology, orthopedics, pain, palliative care, and hospice teams. Individualized pain-assessment tools and care plans can be made available across different locations of care. One clearly designated team, ideally with pain-management expertise, can oversee this process and can serve as the contact for questions and concerns as they arise.

Initiating a medication trial and monitoring the outcome benefit from a rigorous process. Information to consider includes the following: (1) response to previous medications, (2) interaction with other medications, (3) initial dose, (4) the need for titration to minimize adverse effects, (5) the minimal initial dose and time frame of the trial, and (6) adverse effects.161 Table 8 provides guidelines that use this information and can be individualized. Monitoring will determine whether there is adequate benefit and, if not, if a second medication with a different mechanism of action directed at chronic pain sources will be added (Fig 2). If a medication will be discontinued, those to be tapered before discontinuing include gabapentinoids, TCAs, opioids, benzodiazepines, and baclofen. Ideally, when several medications are to be tapered, 1 is tapered at a time.

Monitoring requires the availability of a team with adequate expertise to answer questions and to address new changes in pain episodes. As new symptoms occur, consideration of new nociceptive pain sources can be balanced with a review of medication dosing and additional medication trials directed at sources of chronic pain. This team can also oversee other important aspects of care, such as encouraging a family to store medications such as opioids in a safe location, ideally in a locked cabinet, to reduce the risk of accidental overdose by other children and to discourage the diversion of opioids for illicit use. Diversion might also be considered if the expected benefit does not occur with escalating doses.

Chronic symptoms attributable to the impaired CNS can be modified but not eliminated. Breakthrough pain episodes should be anticipated, with care plans developed to assist families and home nurses in the moment. Families, caregivers, and nurses are integral to this process, including monitoring the benefit of such plans. Care plans can be tailored through trial and error as interventions that are beneficial are identified. A care plan may include the following information, with examples provided in the Appendix:

  • presenting symptoms (describe the child’s specific pain behaviors);

  • initial routine interventions (check for wet diaper, reposition);

  • initial nonpharmacologic strategies (considerations include removing orthotics that may cause temporary discomfort, swaddling, rocking, using a fan, placing headphones with favorite music, massaging legs, placing on a vibratory mat, and other strategies that have been identified as effective);

  • interventions for triggers such as gastrointestinal tract distention (use as-needed suppository or enema if no stool in 1 day, vent gastrostomy feeding tube, hold feedings for 2 hours, hold feedings and give electrolyte replacement overnight, reduce total feedings/fluids);

  • use of as-needed medications (options include as-needed antacid, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, morphine, clonidine, or benzodiazepine); and

  • when to call (call the clinic during the day or the on-call clinician after hours if symptoms persist despite use of the interventions outlined, provide numbers to call).

Care plans can empower families with home-based options while retaining the option for direct assessment in the clinic, emergency department, or hospital. If the frequency and severity of events increase, the dose of scheduled medications can be reviewed and options for additional empirical medication trials can be considered.

Many children with SNI and recurrent pain will have improvement in symptoms after medication trials. The hoped-for benefit can be acknowledged with families while also preparing them for the possibility that some will have less benefit than desired. Case reports also suggest a risk of a return of symptoms without a source, speculated to indicate further neuronal apoptosis in the CNS.40 Language at such times can include, “I hope for as much benefit from this next trial, although I also want you to be prepared that we might not have the hoped-for benefit. What is important to you as we consider these possibilities?”162 

Many of the sources of chronic symptoms cannot be fixed; rather, medications can modify the symptoms that are generated by altering the imbalance of inhibition and excitation in the CNS. There is also a balance between further testing along with seeking a better outcome from multiple medication trials, with consideration that the problems and associated symptoms are intractable, analogous to intractable epilepsy. Although not studied in children with SNI and chronic pain behavior episodes, decreasing benefit may occur from more than 3 medication trials directed at chronic pain sources.

These considerations are important for parents so as to minimize overtesting at a time of diminishing benefit. Palliative care and hospice teams can provide support and guidance throughout this process.163 Suggested language includes, “I know that comfort is an important goal. I worry that it has been difficult to meet this goal or that it will only be possible with increased sedation. What are your thoughts?”162 Discussions may result in a shared conclusion to redirect goals and decisions, such as accepting sedation to meet the goal of comfort and reconsidering the role of further testing, resuscitation, and hospitalization.

Children with SNI deserve symptom identification and treatment throughout life. Waiting until a child is thought to be dying often delays symptom treatment, because it is often not possible to predict when a child with SNI is dying. It is also possible that a child with SNI will do better than expected if pain is significantly lessened, reflecting the harmful effect from the chronic release of stress hormones. Some children may also have improved respiratory function and a decrease in metabolic expenditure when muscle spasms triggered by pain are lessened, given the potential for altered position or respiratory effort attributable to muscle tensing.77 Palliative care and hospice teams can assist with complex symptom management, including at the end of life.

Available evidence supports the following points for consideration:

  1. Children with severe impairment of the CNS, often referred to as children with SNI, have a significantly elevated frequency and severity of pain episodes compared with typically developing children.

  2. Features that are observed when a nonverbal child with SNI is experiencing pain are referred to as pain behaviors. These features are summarized in Table 3.

  3. These features are well established, with pain-assessment tools (Table 4) available to assist with pain monitoring in the hospital, such as after surgery, as well as to track response to interventions for chronic pain.

  4. Nonpharmacologic interventions are an important part of routine symptom management.

  5. Pain-management strategies should be used for painful procedures.

  6. Postsurgical pain management benefits from an interdisciplinary team approach.

  7. Children with SNI and acute pain have an increased risk of certain nociceptive pain sources. The goal is to identify and treat the cause of pain when possible.

  8. Pain that reaches a threshold of concern for a parent may reflect long-standing discomfort without a source, with the child often referred to as agitated or irritable. Chronic pain sources attributable to the impaired CNS can be considered while also assessing for a new acute pain source as a reason for escalating symptoms.

  9. Recurrent pain behavior episodes in children are typically best treated by using an empirical approach, with the goal to lessen the frequency, duration, and severity of episodes.

  10. Lack of benefit from a medication trial should not be viewed as evidence that pain is not present.

  11. Benefit from an empirical trial directed at central causes of pain behaviors can lessen the need for invasive testing in search of a nociceptive source.

  12. Most evidence for treating chronic pain sources in children with SNI is derived from the adult literature. High-level evidence exists for the treatment of central neuropathic pain in adults, a source for consideration in children with SNI and persistent pain. First- and second-line trials (Fig 2) include gabapentinoids and TCAs.

  13. Case series and reports of children with SNI and persistent pain behavior episodes suggest benefit from medications directed at central neuropathic pain, visceral hyperalgesia, and autonomic dysfunction, including gabapentin and TCAs.

  14. Neuropathic pain that persists after 1 medication trial can benefit from medication combinations with different mechanisms of action.

  15. Other medications include acetaminophen and nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs for mild pain and opioids for moderate to severe pain. Not all children with SNI and chronic pain behaviors will respond to opioids.

  16. Pain behaviors often include alterations in tone, body position, and movement. When a child with muscle spasms or dystonia is also identified to have pain behaviors, a chronic pain source can be the trigger for intermittent changes in tone and position. Some children will have improvement after a medication directed at potential central sources of pain.

  17. Management of coexisting problems, such as medications directed at spasticity and dystonia, can also improve comfort.

  18. If symptoms persist after such medication trials, some children may benefit from invasive interventions, including botulinum toxin injections and an intrathecal baclofen pump.

  19. Bowel distention can trigger pain attributable to central neuropathic pain or visceral hyperalgesia. Management of constipation can lessen this trigger.

  20. Overestimation of feeding and fluid requirements can be a trigger for symptoms in some, especially those with limited energy expenditure.

  21. Breakthrough symptoms can be anticipated, with care plans developed to assist families and home nurses in the moment and tailored through trial and error as beneficial interventions are identified.

  22. Potential CNS sources, such as central neuropathic pain and autonomic dysfunction, cannot be eliminated. Medications can decrease symptoms by increasing inhibition or decreasing excitation in the CNS. Many children will have a decrease in symptoms with drug trials, some will not experience the degree of benefit desired, and symptoms originating from the CNS can return or persist.

  23. Palliative care teams can bring interdisciplinary expertise to assist with symptom management and family support, especially when symptoms remain intractable after first-line interventions.

Julie Hauer, MD, FAAP Amy Houtrow, MD, PhD, MPH, FAAP

Chris Feudtner, MD, PhD, MPH, FAAP, Chairperson Julie Hauer, MD, FAAP Scott Klein, MD, MHSA, FAAP Jeffrey Klick, MD, FAAP Jennifer Linebarger, MD, MPH, FAAP

Kelly Komatz, MD, MPH, FAAP

Blyth Lord Stacy Parker

Madra Guinn-Jones, MPH

Kenneth W. Norwood Jr, MD, FAAP, Chairperson Richard C. Adams, MD, FAAP Timothy J. Brei, MD, FAAP Lynn F. Davidson, MD, FAAP Beth Ellen Davis, MD, MPH, FAAP Sandra L. Friedman, MD, MPH, FAAP Amy J. Houtrow, MD, PhD, MPH, FAAP Susan L. Hyman, MD, FAAP Dennis Z. Kuo, MD, MHS, FAAP Garey H. Noritz, MD, FAAP Larry Yin, MD, MSPH, FAAP Nancy A. Murphy, MD, FAAP, Immediate Past Chairperson

Jennifer Bolden Pitre, MA, JD – Family Voices Marie Mann, MD, MPH, FAAP – Maternal and Child Health Bureau Georgina Peacock, MD, MPH, FAAP – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Edwin Simpser, MD, FAAP – Section on Home Care Peter J. Smith, MD, MA, FAAP – Section on Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics

Stephanie Mucha, MPH

Julie Hauer, MD, FAAP, FAAHPM Amy Houtrow, MD, PhD, MPH, FAAP

Example 1: Child With Benefit From Morphine When Symptoms Persist After Other Interventions

Features that suggest pain/discomfort in the child include crying, tears, stiffening of extremities, tremors, facial flushing (redness), sweating, and facial grimacing. Actions when such features are noted:

  1. Routine comfort measures: reposition, check diaper, etc

  2. Remove ankle foot orthotics

  3. Vibrating mat or pulmonary vest (when features persist)

  4. Use fan if warm to the touch or facial flushing noted

  5. If pain considered mild, give as needed ibuprofen

  6. If no improvement or if moderate to severe pain noted, give as needed morphine sulfate

  7. If no improvement within 20 to 30 minutes with 1 medication, give other medication (ie, if ibuprofen given and no improvement within 20 to 30 minutes, then give morphine)

  8. Call team if symptoms persist

Example 2: Child With Symptoms Attributable to Gastrointestinal Tract Distension and With Movement That Is Not Always a Seizure

Protocol for events with back arching and/or muscle tremors: consider triggers for these events in addition to considering a seizure.

  1. Start with the following interventions:

    • Reposition

    • Vent gastrostomy tube

    • If no stool during the day

    • Give scheduled suppository if not yet given that day

    • Give as needed enema if suppository already given

  2. Give ibuprofen if not already given

  3. Consider giving antacid if not already given

  4. Place in calm, dark environment

  5. If event includes facial flushing (redness) and appearing agitated

    • Give as needed clonidine

  6. If event involves rhythmic movement of extremities to suggest seizure

    • Give rectal diazepam; repeat if seizure activity persists for >15 minutes

It is not critical to determine the “chicken and the egg” (eg, is the event a seizure with increased heart rate versus discomfort as a trigger for muscle tremors); allow judgment and experience to guide the order of medication use when it is not possible to know with certainty while considering and eliminating sources that can trigger such events.

Example 3: Child With Symptom Relief From Gut Rest

For pain of ≥4 on pain scale:

  1. Give clonidine 0.2 mg via gastrostomy tube

  2. If no stool that day, give milk of magnesia, 30 mL (used as an antacid and for constipation)

  3. If no stool in 1 day, give fleet enema

  4. If no improvement, give morphine sulfate, 0.5 mL (10 mg) buccal

Other interventions at times of discomfort and pain:

  1. Bath for comfort

  2. Vent gastrostomy tube if any abdominal distention, gagging, or retching

  3. Other options include as-needed milk of magnesia, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen as ordered

For persistent pain despite as-needed medications (notify team the next day):

  1. Give electrolyte solution at 50 mL/hour in place of regular formula feedings × 24 hours

  2. Give acetaminophen scheduled every 6 hours × 24 hours

Example 4: Younger Child Receiving Gabapentin and Clonidine, With Benefit From Vibratory Mat and Clonazepam for Breakthrough Symptoms

Interventions for persistent crying or toning:

  1. Use the following 3 interventions, in no particular order:

    • Swaddling: use large bath towel or blanket, flex legs up toward abdomen, swaddle tightly

    • Vibratory mat, maximum of 15 minutes on followed by minimum of 15 minutes off

    • Weighted blanket, 30 minutes on followed by minimum of 30 minutes off

  2. If no benefit from the above, use as-needed dose of clonazepam (suggested starting dose of 0.005-0.01 mg/kg)

Dr Hauer conceptualized and drafted the initial manuscript, reviewed and responded to questions and comments from all reviewers, and contributed to writing the final manuscript; Dr Houtrow contributed to the initial drafting and editing at all stages, including the final manuscript; and all authors approved the final manuscript as submitted.

This document is copyrighted and is property of the American Academy of Pediatrics and its Board of Directors. All authors have filed conflict of interest statements with the American Academy of Pediatrics. Any conflicts have been resolved through a process approved by the Board of Directors. The American Academy of Pediatrics has neither solicited nor accepted any commercial involvement in the development of the content of this publication.

Clinical reports from the American Academy of Pediatrics benefit from expertise and resources of liaisons and internal (AAP) and external reviewers. However, clinical reports from the American Academy of Pediatrics may not reflect the views of the liaisons or the organizations or government agencies that they represent.

The guidance in this report does not indicate an exclusive course of treatment or serve as a standard of medical care. Variations, taking into account individual circumstances, may be appropriate.

All clinical reports from the American Academy of Pediatrics automatically expire 5 years after publication unless reaffirmed, revised, or retired at or before that time.

FUNDING: No external funding.

Abbreviations
CNS

central nervous system

FDA

Food and Drug Administration

GERD

gastroesophageal reflex disease

MS

multiple sclerosis

r-FLACC

revised Face, Legs, Activity, Cry, Consolability

SNI

severe neurologic impairment

SNRI

serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor

SSRI

selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor

TCA

tricyclic antidepressant

WHO

World Health Organization

1
McCluggage
HL
.
Symptoms suffered by life-limited children that cause anxiety to UK children’s hospice staff.
Int J Palliat Nurs
.
2006
;
12
(
6
):
254
258
2
International Association for the Study of Pain
. IASP taxonomy. Available at: www.iasp-pain.org/Taxonomy. Accessed June 15, 2016
3
US Department of Health and Human Services
;
National Institutes of Health
;
National Cancer Institute
. Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events (CTCAE). Available at: www.hrc.govt.nz/sites/default/files/CTCAE%20manual%20-%20DMCC.pdf. Accessed June 15, 2016
4
Gilles
EE
.
“Neuro-irritability” in children with developmental disabilities: the role of autonomic nervous system dysregulation.
Neuropadiatrie
.
2011
;
10
(
1
):
15
19
5
Feudtner
C
,
Nye
R
,
Hill
DL
, et al
Polysymptomatology in Pediatric Patients Receiving Palliative Care Based on Parent-Reported Data.
JAMA Netw Open
.
2021
;
4
(
8
):
e2119730
6
Feinstein
JA
,
Feudtner
C
,
Blackmer
AB
,
Valuck
RJ
,
Holstein
JA
,
Gregoire
LA
, et al
Parent-Reported Symptoms and Medications Used Among Children with Severe Neurological Impairment.
JAMA Netw Open
.
2020
;
3
(
12
):
e2029082
7
Feinstein
JA
,
Feudtner
C
,
Valuck
RJ
,
Fairclough
DL
,
Holstein
JA
,
Samay
S
,
Kempe
A
Identifying Important Clinical Symptoms in Children With Severe Neurological Impairment Using Parent-Reported Outcomes of Symptoms.
JAMA Pediatr
.
2020
;
174
(
11
):
1114
1117
8
Svedberg
LE
,
Englund
E
,
Malker
H
,
Stener-Victorin
E
.
Parental perception of cold extremities and other accompanying symptoms in children with cerebral palsy.
Eur J Paediatr Neurol
.
2008
;
12
(
2
):
89
96
9
Steele
R
,
Siden
H
,
Cadell
S
, et al
.
Charting the territory: symptoms and functional assessment in children with progressive, non-curable conditions.
Arch Dis Child
.
2014
;
99
(
8
):
754
762
10
World Health Organization
. WHO guidelines on the pharmacological treatment of persisting pain in children with medical illnesses. Available at: www.who.int/medicines/areas/quality_safety/guide_perspainchild/ en/. Accessed June 15, 2016
11
Allen
J
,
Brenner
M
,
Hauer
J
,
Molloy
E
,
McDonald
D
.
Severe Neurological Impairment: A Delphi Consensus-Based Definition.
Eur J of Paediatr Neurol
.
2020
;
29
:
81
86
12
Oberlander
TF
,
O’Donnell
ME
.
Beliefs about pain among professionals working with children with significant neurologic impairment.
Dev Med Child Neurol
.
2001
;
43
(
2
):
138
140
13
Breau
LM
,
Camfield
CS
,
McGrath
PJ
,
Finley
GA
.
The incidence of pain in children with severe cognitive impairments.
Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med
.
2003
;
157
(
12
):
1219
1226
14
Hunt
A
,
Goldman
A
,
Seers
K
, et al
.
Clinical validation of the paediatric pain profile.
Dev Med Child Neurol
.
2004
;
46
(
1
):
9
18
15
Houlihan
CM
,
O’Donnell
M
,
Conaway
M
,
Stevenson
RD
.
Bodily pain and health-related quality of life in children with cerebral palsy.
Dev Med Child Neurol
.
2004
;
46
(
5
):
305
310
16
Stallard
P
,
Williams
L
,
Velleman
R
,
Lenton
S
,
McGrath
PJ
.
Brief report: behaviors identified by caregivers to detect pain in noncommunicating children.
J Pediatr Psychol
.
2002
;
27
(
2
):
209
214
17
Hauer
JM
,
Solodiuk
JC
.
Gabapentin for management of recurrent pain in 22 nonverbal children with severe neurological impairment: a retrospective analysis.
J Palliat Med
.
2015
;
18
(
5
):
453
456
18
Perquin
CW
,
Hazebroek-Kampschreur
AA
,
Hunfeld
JA
, et al
.
Pain in children and adolescents: a common experience.
Pain
.
2000
;
87
(
1
):
51
58
19
Solodiuk
JC
,
Brighton
H
,
McHale
J
, et al
.
Documented electronic medical record-based pain intensity scores at a tertiary pediatric medical center: a cohort analysis.
J Pain Symptom Manage
.
2014
;
48
(
5
):
924
933
20
Hunt
A
,
Wisbeach
A
,
Seers
K
, et al
.
Development of the Paediatric Pain Profile: role of video analysis and saliva cortisol in validating a tool to assess pain in children with severe neurological disability.
J Pain Symptom Manage
.
2007
;
33
(
3
):
276
289
21
Herr
K
,
Coyne
PJ
,
McCaffery
M
,
Manworren
R
,
Merkel
S
.
Pain assessment in the patient unable to self-report: position statement with clinical practice recommendations.
Pain Manag Nurs
.
2011
;
12
(
4
):
230
250
22
Malviya
S
,
Voepel-Lewis
T
,
Burke
C
,
Merkel
S
,
Tait
AR
.
The revised FLACC observational pain tool: improved reliability and validity for pain assessment in children with cognitive impairment.
Paediatr Anaesth
.
2006
;
16
(
3
):
258
265
23
Solodiuk
JC
,
Scott-Sutherland
J
,
Meyers
M
, et al
.
Validation of the Individualized Numeric Rating Scale (INRS): a pain assessment tool for nonverbal children with intellectual disability.
Pain
.
2010
;
150
(
2
):
231
236
24
Breau
LM
,
Finley
GA
,
McGrath
PJ
,
Camfield
CS
.
Validation of the non- communicating children’s pain checklist-postoperative version.
Anesthesiology
.
2002
;
96
(
3
):
528
535
25
Breau
LM
,
McGrath
PJ
,
Camfield
CS
,
Finley
GA
.
Psychometric properties of the Non-Communicating Children’s Pain Checklist-Revised.
Pain
.
2002
;
99
(
1–2
):
349
357
26
Hadden
KL
,
von Baeyer
CL
.
Pain in children with cerebral palsy: common triggers and expressive behaviors.
Pain
.
2002
;
99
(
1–2
):
281
288
27
Carter
B
,
McArthur
E
,
Cunliffe
M
.
Dealing with uncertainty: parental assessment of pain in their children with profound special needs.
J Adv Nurs
.
2002
;
38
(
5
):
449
457
28
Voepel-Lewis
T
,
Malviya
S
,
Tait
AR
, et al
.
A comparison of the clinical utility of pain assessment tools for children with cognitive impairment.
Anesth Analg
.
2008
;
106
(
1
):
72
78
29
Crosta
QR
,
Ward
TM
,
Walker
AJ
,
Peters
LM
.
A review of pain measures for hospitalized children with cognitive impairment.
J Spec Pediatr Nurs
.
2014
;
19
(
2
):
109
118
30
Chen-Lim
ML
,
Zarnowsky
C
,
Green
R
,
Shaffer
S
,
Holtzer
B
,
Ely
E
.
Optimizing the assessment of pain in children who are cognitively impaired through the quality improvement process.
J Pediatr Nurs
.
2012
;
27
(
6
):
750
759
31
Rattaz
C
,
Dubois
A
,
Michelon
C
,
Viellard
M
,
Poinso
F
,
Baghdadli
A
.
How do children with autism spectrum disorders express pain? A comparison with developmentally delayed and typically developing children.
Pain
.
2013
;
154
(
10
):
2007
2013
32
Nader
R
,
Oberlander
TF
,
Chambers
CT
,
Craig
KD
.
Expression of pain in children with autism.
Clin J Pain
.
2004
;
20
(
2
):
88
97
33
Tomlinson
D
,
von Baeyer
CL
,
Stinson
JN
,
Sung
L
.
A systematic review of FACES scales for the self-report of pain intensity in children.
Pediatrics
.
2010
;
126
(
5
). Available at: www.pediatrics.org/cgi/content/full/126/5/e1168
34
Biersdorff
KK
.
Incidence of significantly altered pain experience among individuals with developmental disabilities.
Am J Ment Retard
.
1994
;
98
(
5
):
619
631
35
Jan
JE
,
Abroms
IF
,
Freeman
RD
,
Brown
GM
,
Espezel
H
,
Connolly
MB
.
Rapid cycling in severely multidisabled children: a form of bipolar affective disorder?
Pediatr Neurol
.
1994
;
10
(
1
):
34
39
36
Ståhle-Oberg
L
,
Fjellman-Wiklund
A
.
Parents’ experience of pain in children with cerebral palsy and multiple disabilities: an interview study.
Adv Physiother
.
2009
;
11
(
3
):
137
144
37
Penner
M
,
Xie
WY
,
Binepal
N
,
Switzer
L
,
Fehlings
D
.
Characteristics of pain in children and youth with cerebral palsy.
Pediatrics
.
2013
;
132
(
2
). Available at: www.pediatrics.org/cgi/content/full/132/2/e407
38
Wusthoff
CJ
,
Shellhaas
RA
,
Licht
DJ
.
Management of common neurologic symptoms in pediatric palliative care: seizures, agitation, and spasticity.
Pediatr Clin North Am
.
2007
;
54
(
5
):
709
733
, xi
39
Morse
BL
,
Solodiuk
JC
,
Greco
CD
,
Mauskar
S
,
Hauer
J
.
Initial Validation of GRASP: A Differential Diagnoses Algorithm for Children With Medical Complexity and an Unknown Source of Pain.
Hosp Pediatr
.
2020
;
10
(
8
):
633
640
40
Hauer
JM
. Pain: evaluation and treatment. In:
Caring for Children Who Have Severe Neurological Impairment: A Life With Grace
.
Baltimore, MD
:
Johns Hopkins University Press
;
2013
:
81
130
41
Siden
H
,
Oberlander
TF
. Pain management for children with a developmental disability in a primary care setting. In:
Walco
GA
,
Goldschneider
KR
, eds.
Pain in Children: A Practical Guide for Primary Care
.
Totowa, NJ
:
Humana Press
;
2008
:
32
42
Boyer
EW
,
Shannon
M
.
The serotonin syndrome.
N Engl J Med
.
2005
;
352
(
11
):
1112
1120
43
Jackson
N
,
Doherty
J
,
Coulter
S
.
Neuropsychiatric complications of commonly used palliative care drugs.
Postgrad Med J
.
2008
;
84
(
989
):
121
126
, quiz 125
44
Del Fabbro
E
,
Dalal
S
,
Bruera
E
.
Symptom control in palliative care—part III: dyspnea and delirium.
J Palliat Med
.
2006
;
9
(
2
):
422
436
45
Traube
C
,
Silver
G
,
Kearney
J
, et al
.
Cornell assessment of pediatric delirium: a valid, rapid, observational tool for screening delirium in the PICU.
Crit Care Med
.
2014
;
42
(
3
):
656
663
46
Smith
HA
,
Boyd
J
,
Fuchs
DC
, et al
.
Diagnosing delirium in critically ill children: validity and reliability of the pediatric Confusion Assessment Method for the Intensive Care Unit.
Crit Care Med
.
2011
;
39
(
1
):
150
157
47
Hauer
JM
,
Wical
BS
,
Charnas
L
.
Gabapentin successfully manages chronic unexplained irritability in children with severe neurologic impairment.
Pediatrics
.
2007
;
119
(
2
). Available at: www.pediatrics.org/cgi/content/full/119/2/e519
48
Siden
HB
,
Carleton
BC
,
Oberlander
TF
.
Physician variability in treating pain and irritability of unknown origin in children with severe neurological impairment.
Pain Res Manag
.
2013
;
18
(
5
):
243
248
49
Haney
AL
,
Garner
SS
,
Cox
TH
.
Gabapentin therapy for pain and irritability in a neurologically impaired infant.
Pharmacotherapy
.
2009
;
29
(
8
):
997
1001
50
Hauer
J
.
Improving comfort in children with severe neurological impairment.
Prog Palliat Care
.
2012
;
20
(
6
):
349
356
51
Defrin
R
,
Lotan
M
,
Pick
CG
.
The evaluation of acute pain in individuals with cognitive impairment: a differential effect of the level of impairment.
Pain
.
2006
;
124
(
3
):
312
320
52
Kehlet
H
,
Jensen
TS
,
Woolf
CJ
.
Persistent postsurgical pain: risk factors and prevention.
Lancet
.
2006
;
367
(
9522
):
1618
1625
53
Lauder
GR
,
White
MC
.
Neuropathic pain following multilevel surgery in children with cerebral palsy: a case series and review.
Paediatr Anaesth
.
2005
;
15
(
5
):
412
420
54
Nicholson
BD
.
Evaluation and treatment of central pain syndromes.
Neurology
.
2004
;
62
(
5
suppl 2
):
S30
S36
55
Frese
A
,
Husstedt
IW
,
Ringelstein
EB
,
Evers
S
.
Pharmacologic treatment of central post-stroke pain.
Clin J Pain
.
2006
;
22
(
3
):
252
260
56
Klit
H
,
Finnerup
NB
,
Jensen
TS
.
Central post-stroke pain: clinical characteristics, pathophysiology, and management.
Lancet Neurol
.
2009
;
8
(
9
):
857
868
57
Renard
D
,
Castelnovo
G
,
Campello
C
, et al
.
Thalamic lesions: a radiological review.
Behav Neurol
.
2014
;
2014
:
154631
58
Rieger
D
,
Auerbach
S
,
Robinson
P
,
Gropman
A
.
Neuroimaging of lipid storage disorders.
Dev Disabil Res Rev
.
2013
;
17
(
3
):
269
282
59
Dunn
HG
.
Neurons and neuronal systems involved in the pathophysiologies of Rett syndrome.
Brain Dev
.
2001
;
23
(
suppl 1
):
S99
S100
60
Huang
BY
,
Castillo
M
.
Hypoxic-ischemic brain injury: imaging findings from birth to adulthood.
Radiographics
.
2008
;
28
(
2
):
417
439
, quiz 617
61
Canavero
S
,
Bonicalzi
V
.
Central Pain Syndrome: Pathophysiology, Diagnosis, and Management
.
New York, NY
:
Cambridge University Press
;
2007
:
48
62
Delgado-Aros
S
,
Camilleri
M
.
Visceral hypersensitivity.
J Clin Gastroenterol
.
2005
;
39
(
5
suppl 3
):
S194
S203
; discussion: S210
63
Zangen
T
,
Ciarla
C
,
Zangen
S
, et al
.
Gastrointestinal motility and sensory abnormalities may contribute to food refusal in medically fragile toddlers.
J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr
.
2003
;
37
(
3
):
287
293
64
Hunt
A
,
Mastroyannopoulou
K
,
Goldman
A
,
Seers
K
.
Not knowing—the problem of pain in children with severe neurological impairment.
Int J Nurs Stud
.
2003
;
40
(
2
):
171
183
65
Breau
LM
,
Camfield
CS
,
McGrath
PJ
,
Finley
GA
.
Risk factors for pain in children with severe cognitive impairments.
Dev Med Child Neurol
.
2004
;
46
(
6
):
364
371
66
Mousa
H
,
Caniano
DA
,
Alhajj
M
,
Gibson
L
,
Di Lorenzo
C
,
Binkowitz
L
.
Effect of Nissen fundoplication on gastric motor and sensory functions.
J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr
.
2006
;
43
(
2
):
185
189
67
Agrawal
S
.Neuro-crying, neuro-irritability, or pain? A personal account. Complex Child E-Magazine. Available at: www.articles.complexchild.com/nov2009/00166.html. Accessed June 15, 2016
68
Park
ES
,
Park
CI
,
Cho
SR
,
Lee
JW
,
Kim
EJ
.
Assessment of autonomic nervous system with analysis of heart rate variability in children with spastic cerebral palsy.
Yonsei Med J
.
2002
;
43
(
1
):
65
72
69
Axelrod
FB
,
Berlin
D
.
Pregabalin: a new approach to treatment of the dysautonomic crisis.
Pediatrics
.
2009
;
124
(
2
):
743
746
70
Chelimsky
G
,
Chelimsky
T
.
Familial association of autonomic and gastrointestinal symptoms.
Clin Auton Res
.
2001
;
11
(
6
):
383
386
71
Chelimsky
G
,
Hupertz
VF
,
Chelimsky
TC
.
Abdominal pain as the presenting symptom of autonomic dysfunction in a child.
Clin Pediatr (Phila)
.
1999
;
38
(
12
):
725
729
72
Foster-Barber
A
.
Pain and suffering from epileptic seizures in the noncommunicative patient.
Neuropadiatrie
.
2011
;
10
(
1
):
20
25
73
Sanger
TD
,
Delgado
MR
,
Gaebler-Spira
D
,
Hallett
M
,
Mink
JW
;
Task Force on Childhood Motor Disorders
.
Classification and definition of disorders causing hypertonia in childhood.
Pediatrics
.
2003
;
111
(
1
). Available at: www.pediatrics.org/cgi/content/full/111/1/e89
74
Valencia
FG
.
Management of hip deformities in cerebral palsy.
Orthop Clin North Am
.
2010
;
41
(
4
):
549
559
75
Williams
DG
,
Patel
A
,
Howard
RF
.
Pharmacogenetics of codeine metabolism in an urban population of children and its implications for analgesic reliability.
Br J Anaesth
.
2002
;
89
(
6
):
839
845
76
Ciszkowski
C
,
Madadi
P
,
Phillips
MS
,
Lauwers
AE
,
Koren
G
.
Codeine, ultrarapid-metabolism genotype, and postoperative death.
N Engl J Med
.
2009
;
361
(
8
):
827
828
77
Hauer
JM
.
Treating dyspnea with morphine sulfate in nonverbal children with neurological impairment.
Pediatr Pulmonol
.
2015
;
50
(
4
):
E9
E12
78
Rocker
G
,
Young
J
,
Donahue
M
,
Farquhar
M
,
Simpson
C
.
Perspectives of patients, family caregivers and physicians about the use of opioids for refractory dyspnea in advanced chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
CMAJ
.
2012
;
184
(
9
):
E497
E504
79
Koller
D
,
Goldman
RD
.
Distraction techniques for children undergoing procedures: a critical review of pediatric research.
J Pediatr Nurs
.
2012
;
27
(
6
):
652
681
80
Lee
GY
,
Yamada
J
,
Kyololo
O
,
Shorkey
A
,
Stevens
B
.
Pediatric clinical practice guidelines for acute procedural pain: a systematic review.
Pediatrics
.
2014
;
133
(
3
):
500
515
81
Zier
JL
,
Rivard
PF
,
Krach
LE
,
Wendorf
HR
.
Effectiveness of sedation using nitrous oxide compared with enteral midazolam for botulinum toxin A injections in children.
Dev Med Child Neurol
.
2008
;
50
(
11
):
854
858
82
Cramton
RE
,
Gruchala
NE
.
Managing procedural pain in pediatric patients.
Curr Opin Pediatr
.
2012
;
24
(
4
):
530
538
83
Barwood
S
,
Baillieu
C
,
Boyd
R
, et al
.
Analgesic effects of botulinum toxin A: a randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial.
Dev Med Child Neurol
.
2000
;
42
(
2
):
116
121
84
Rusy
LM
,
Hainsworth
KR
,
Nelson
TJ
, et al
.
Gabapentin use in pediatric spinal fusion patients: a randomized, double-blind, controlled trial.
Anesth Analg
.
2010
;
110
(
5
):
1393
1398
85
Mayell
A
,
Srinivasan
I
,
Campbell
F
,
Peliowski
A
.
Analgesic effects of gabapentin after scoliosis surgery in children: a randomized controlled trial.
Paediatr Anaesth
.
2014
;
24
(
12
):
1239
1244
86
Gauger
VT
,
Voepel-Lewis
TD
,
Burke
CN
, et al
.
Epidural analgesia compared with intravenous analgesia after pediatric posterior spinal fusion.
J Pediatr Orthop
.
2009
;
29
(
6
):
588
593
87
Nolan
J
,
Chalkiadis
GA
,
Low
J
,
Olesch
CA
,
Brown
TC
.
Anaesthesia and pain management in cerebral palsy.
Anaesthesia
.
2000
;
55
(
1
):
32
41
88
Taenzer
AH
,
Clark
C
.
Efficacy of postoperative epidural analgesia in adolescent scoliosis surgery: a meta-analysis.
Paediatr Anaesth
.
2010
;
20
(
2
):
135
143
89
Friedrichsdorf
SJ
,
Kang
TI
.
The management of pain in children with life-limiting illnesses.
Pediatr Clin North Am
.
2007
;
54
(
5
):
645
672
, x
90
Zernikow
B
,
Michel
E
,
Craig
F
,
Anderson
BJ
.
Pediatric palliative care: use of opioids for the management of pain.
Paediatr Drugs
.
2009
;
11
(
2
):
129
151
91
Food and Drug Administration.
FDA Drug Safety Communication: FDA restricts use of prescription codeine pain and cough medicines and tramadol pain medicines in children; recommends against use in breastfeeding women. April 20, 2017. Available at:
https://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/ucm549679.htm. Accessed April 23, 2017
92
Gardner
JS
,
Blough
D
,
Drinkard
CR
, et al
.
Tramadol and seizures: a surveillance study in a managed care population.
Pharmacotherapy
.
2000
;
20
(
12
):
1423
1431
93
Nicholson
B
.
Morphine sulfate extended-release capsules for the treatment of chronic, moderate-to-severe pain.
Expert Opin Pharmacother
.
2008
;
9
(
9
):
1585
1594
94
Center to Advance Palliative Care
. Once-daily oral morphine formulations. Available at: https://www.capc.org/fast-facts/166-once-daily-oral- morphine-formulations/. Accessed June 15, 2016
95
Bruera
E
,
Sweeney
C
.
Methadone use in cancer patients with pain: a review.
J Palliat Med
.
2002
;
5
(
1
):
127
138
96
Strouse
TB
.
Pharmacokinetic drug interactions in palliative care: focus on opioids.
J Palliat Med
.
2009
;
12
(
11
):
1043
1050
97
Berde
CB
,
Lebel
AA
,
Olsson
G
. Neuropathic pain in children. In:
Schechter
NL
,
Berde
CB
,
Yaster
M
, eds.
Pain in Infants, Children, and Adolescents
.
Philadelphia, PA
:
Lippincott Williams and Wilkins
;
2003
:
620
641
98
Finnerup
NB
,
Otto
M
,
McQuay
HJ
,
Jensen
TS
,
Sindrup
SH
.
Algorithm for neuropathic pain treatment: an evidence based proposal.
Pain
.
2005
;
118
(
3
):
289
305
99
Dworkin
RH
,
O’Connor
AB
,
Backonja
M
, et al
.
Pharmacologic management of neuropathic pain: evidence-based recommendations.
Pain
.
2007
;
132
(
3
):
237
251
100
Moulin
D
,
Boulanger
A
,
Clark
AJ
, et al;
Canadian Pain Society
.
Pharmacological management of chronic neuropathic pain: revised consensus statement from the Canadian Pain Society.
Pain Res Manag
.
2014
;
19
(
6
):
328
335
101
Hasler
WL
.
Pharmacotherapy for intestinal motor and sensory disorders.
Gastroenterol Clin North Am
.
2003
;
32
(
2
):
707
732
, viii–ix
102
Lee
KJ
,
Kim
JH
,
Cho
SW
.
Gabapentin reduces rectal mechanosensitivity and increases rectal compliance in patients with diarrhoea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome.
Aliment Pharmacol Ther
.
2005
;
22
(
10
):
981
988
103
Houghton
LA
,
Fell
C
,
Whorwell
PJ
,
Jones
I
,
Sudworth
DP
,
Gale
JD
.
Effect of a second-generation alpha2delta ligand (pregabalin) on visceral sensation in hypersensitive patients with irritable bowel syndrome.
Gut
.
2007
;
56
(
9
):
1218
1225
104
Baguley
IJ
,
Heriseanu
RE
,
Gurka
JA
,
Nordenbo
A
,
Cameron
ID
.
Gabapentin in the management of dysautonomia following severe traumatic brain injury: a case series.
J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry
.
2007
;
78
(
5
):
539
541
105
Cutter
NC
,
Scott
DD
,
Johnson
JC
,
Whiteneck
G
.
Gabapentin effect on spasticity in multiple sclerosis: a placebo-controlled, randomized trial.
Arch Phys Med Rehabil
.
2000
;
81
(
2
):
164
169
106
Cappuccio
G
,
Brunetti-Pierri
N
,
Terrone
G
,
Romano
A
,
Andria
G
,
Del Giudice
E
.
Low-dose amitriptyline-induced acute dystonia in a patient with metachromatic leukodystrophy.
JIMD Rep
.
2013
;
9
:
113
116
107
Taylor
CP
.
The biology and pharmacology of calcium channel alpha2-delta proteins
. Pfizer Satellite Symposium to the 2003 Society for Neuroscience Meeting; New Orleans, LA; November 10, 2003.
CNS Drug Rev
.
2004
;
10
(
2
):
183
188
108
Korn-Merker
E
,
Borusiak
P
,
Boenigk
HE
.
Gabapentin in childhood epilepsy: a prospective evaluation of efficacy and safety.
Epilepsy Res
.
2000
;
38
(
1
):
27
32
109
Haig
GM
,
Bockbrader
HN
,
Wesche
DL
, et al
.
Single-dose gabapentin pharmacokinetics and safety in healthy infants and children.
J Clin Pharmacol
.
2001
;
41
(
5
):
507
514
110
Gilron
I
,
Bailey
JM
,
Tu
D
,
Holden
RR
,
Jackson
AC
,
Houlden
RL
.
Nortriptyline and gabapentin, alone and in combination for neuropathic pain: a double-blind, randomised controlled crossover trial.
Lancet
.
2009
;
374
(
9697
):
1252
1261
111
Gilron
I
,
Jensen
TS
,
Dickenson
AH
.
Combination pharmacotherapy for management of chronic pain: from bench to bedside.
Lancet Neurol
.
2013
;
12
(
11
):
1084
1095
112
Chaparro
LE
,
Wiffen
PJ
,
Moore
RA
,
Gilron
I
.
Combination pharmacotherapy for the treatment of neuropathic pain in adults.
Cochrane Database Syst Rev
.
2012
;(
7
):
CD008943
113
Lubsch
L
,
Habersang
R
,
Haase
M
,
Luedtke
S
.
Oral baclofen and clonidine for treatment of spasticity in children.
J Child Neurol
.
2006
;
21
(
12
):
1090
1092
114
Baguley
IJ
,
Cameron
ID
,
Green
AM
,
Slewa-Younan
S
,
Marosszeky
JE
,
Gurka
JA
.
Pharmacological management of dysautonomia following traumatic brain injury.
Brain Inj
.
2004
;
18
(
5
):
409
417
115
Smith
H
,
Elliott
J
.
Alpha(2) receptors and agonists in pain management.
Curr Opin Anaesthesiol
.
2001
;
14
(
5
):
513
518
116
Kuiken
SD
,
Tytgat
GN
,
Boeckxstaens
GE
.
Review article: drugs interfering with visceral sensitivity for the treatment of functional gastrointestinal disorders—the clinical evidence.
Aliment Pharmacol Ther
.
2005
;
21
(
6
):
633
651
117
Croxford
JL
.
Therapeutic potential of cannabinoids in CNS disease.
CNS Drugs
.
2003
;
17
(
3
):
179
202
118
Collin
C
,
Davies
P
,
Mutiboko
IK
,
Ratcliffe
S
;
Sativex Spasticity in MS Study Group
.
Randomized controlled trial of cannabis-based medicine in spasticity caused by multiple sclerosis.
Eur J Neurol
.
2007
;
14
(
3
):
290
296
119
Ammerman
S
,
Ryan
S
,
Adelman
WP
;
Committee on Substance Abuse
;
Committee on Adolescence
.
The impact of marijuana policies on youth: clinical, research, and legal update.
Pediatrics
.
2015
;
135
(
3
). Available at: www.pediatrics.org/cgi/content/full/135/3/e769
120
Kalachnik
JE
,
Hanzel
TE
,
Sevenich
R
,
Harder
SR
.
Benzodiazepine behavioral side effects: review and implications for individuals with mental retardation.
Am J Ment Retard
.
2002
;
107
(
5
):
376
410
121
Kalachnik
JE
,
Hanzel
TE
,
Sevenich
R
,
Harder
SR
.
Brief report: clonazepam behavioral side effects with an individual with mental retardation.
J Autism Dev Disord
.
2003
;
33
(
3
):
349
354
122
Devlin
JW
,
Roberts
RJ
.
Pharmacology of commonly used analgesics and sedatives in the ICU: benzodiazepines, propofol, and opioids.
Crit Care Clin
.
2009
;
25
(
3
):
431
449
, vii
123
Riss
J
,
Cloyd
J
,
Gates
J
,
Collins
S
.
Benzodiazepines in epilepsy: pharmacology and pharmacokinetics.
Acta Neurol Scand
.
2008
;
118
(
2
):
69
86
124
Tanaka
E
.
Clinically significant pharmacokinetic drug interactions with benzodiazepines.
J Clin Pharm Ther
.
1999
;
24
(
5
):
347
355
125
Browne
TR
.
Clonazepam: a review of a new anticonvulsant drug.
Arch Neurol
.
1976
;
33
(
5
):
326
332
126
Browne
TR
.
Clonazepam.
N Engl J Med
.
1978
;
299
(
15
):
812
816
127
Gan
TJ
.
Pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic characteristics of medications used for moderate sedation.
Clin Pharmacokinet
.
2006
;
45
(
9
):
855
869
128
Kuperminc
MN
,
Gurka
MJ
,
Bennis
JA
, et al
.
Anthropometric measures: poor predictors of body fat in children with moderate to severe cerebral palsy.
Dev Med Child Neurol
.
2010
;
52
(
9
):
824
830
129
Kong
CK
,
Wong
HS
.
Weight-for-height values and limb anthropometric composition of tube-fed children with quadriplegic cerebral palsy.
Pediatrics
.
2005
;
116
(
6
). Available at: www.pediatrics.org/cgi/content/full/116/6/e839
130
Lader
M
,
Tylee
A
,
Donoghue
J
.
Withdrawing benzodiazepines in primary care.
CNS Drugs
.
2009
;
23
(
1
):
19
34
131
Seidel
S
,
Aigner
M
,
Ossege
M
,
Pernicka
E
,
Wildner
B
,
Sycha
T
.
Antipsychotics for acute and chronic pain in adults.
Cochrane Database Syst Rev
.
2013
;(
8
):
CD004844
132
Symons
FJ
.
Self-injurious behavior in neurodevelopmental disorders: relevance of nociceptive and immune mechanisms.
Neurosci Biobehav Rev
.
2011
;
35
(
5
):
1266
1274
133
Peebles
KA
,
Price
TJ
.
Self-injurious behaviour in intellectual disability syndromes: evidence for aberrant pain signalling as a contributing factor.
J Intellect Disabil Res
.
2012
;
56
(
5
):
441
452
134
Delgado
MR
,
Hirtz
D
,
Aisen
M
, et al;
Quality Standards Subcommittee of the American Academy of Neurology
;
Practice Committee of the Child Neurology Society
.
Practice parameter: pharmacologic treatment of spasticity in children and adolescents with cerebral palsy (an evidence-based review): report of the Quality Standards Subcommittee of the American Academy of Neurology and the Practice Committee of the Child Neurology Society.
Neurology
.
2010
;
74
(
4
):
336
343
135
Hansel
DE
,
Hansel
CR
,
Shindle
MK
, et al
.
Oral baclofen in cerebral palsy: possible seizure potentiation?
Pediatr Neurol
.
2003
;
29
(
3
):
203
206
136
Rivard
PF
,
Nugent
AC
,
Symons
FJ
.
Parent-proxy ratings of pain before and after botulinum toxin type A treatment for children with spasticity and cerebral palsy.
Clin J Pain
.
2009
;
25
(
5
):
413
417
137
Lundy
CT
,
Doherty
GM
,
Fairhurst
CB
.
Botulinum toxin type A injections can be an effective treatment for pain in children with hip spasms and cerebral palsy.
Dev Med Child Neurol
.
2009
;
51
(
9
):
705
710
138
Intiso
D
,
Basciani
M
,
Santamato
A
,
Intiso
M
,
Di Rienzo
F
.
Botulinum toxin type A for the treatment of neuropathic pain in neuro-rehabilitation.
Toxins (Basel)
.
2015
;
7
(
7
):
2454
2480
139
Hoving
MA
,
van Raak
EP
,
Spincemaille
GH
, et al;
Dutch Study Group on Child Spasticity
.
Safety and one-year efficacy of intrathecal baclofen therapy in children with intractable spastic cerebral palsy.
Eur J Paediatr Neurol
.
2009
;
13
(
3
):
247
256
140
Albright
AL
,
Gilmartin
R
,
Swift
D
,
Krach
LE
,
Ivanhoe
CB
,
McLaughlin
JF
.
Long-term intrathecal baclofen therapy for severe spasticity of cerebral origin.
J Neurosurg
.
2003
;
98
(
2
):
291
295
141
Sgouros
S
.
Surgical management of spasticity of cerebral origin in children.
Acta Neurochir Suppl (Wien)
.
2007
;
97
(
pt 1
):
193
203
142
Mink
JW
.
Special concerns in defining, studying, and treating dystonia in children.
Mov Disord
.
2013
;
28
(
7
):
921
925
143
Roubertie
A
,
Mariani
LL
,
Fernandez-Alvarez
E
,
Doummar
D
,
Roze
E
.
Treatment for dystonia in childhood.
Eur J Neurol
.
2012
;
19
(
10
):
1292
1299
144
Bonouvrié
LA
,
Becher
JG
,
Vles
JS
, et al
.
Intrathecal baclofen treatment in dystonic cerebral palsy: a randomized clinical trial: the IDYS trial.
BMC Pediatr
.
2013
;
13
:
175
145
Hogan
KA
,
Blake
M
,
Gross
RH
.
Subtrochanteric valgus osteotomy for chronically dislocated, painful spastic hips.
J Bone Joint Surg Am
.
2006
;
88
(
12
):
2624
2631
146
Knaus
A
,
Terjesen
T
.
Proximal femoral resection arthroplasty for patients with cerebral palsy and dislocated hips: 20 patients followed for 1-6 years.
Acta Orthop
.
2009
;
80
(
1
):
32
36
147
Raphael
BS
,
Dines
JS
,
Akerman
M
,
Root
L
.
Long-term followup of total hip arthroplasty in patients with cerebral palsy.
Clin Orthop Relat Res
.
2010
;
468
(
7
):
1845
1854
148
Boldingh
EJ
,
Bouwhuis
CB
,
van der Heijden-Maessen
HC
,
Bos
CF
,
Lankhorst
GJ
.
Palliative hip surgery in severe cerebral palsy: a systematic review.
J Pediatr Orthop B
.
2014
;
23
(
1
):
86
92
149
Elawad
MA
,
Sullivan
PB
.
Management of constipation in children with disabilities.
Dev Med Child Neurol
.
2001
;
43
(
12
):
829
832
150
Sunitha Suresh
BS
,
De Oliveira
GS
Jr
,
Suresh
S
.
The effect of audio therapy to treat postoperative pain in children undergoing major surgery: a randomized controlled trial.
Pediatr Surg Int
.
2015
;
31
(
2
):
197
201
151
Liptak
GS
.
Complementary and alternative therapies for cerebral palsy.
Ment Retard Dev Disabil Res Rev
.
2005
;
11
(
2
):
156
163
152
Vibration for pain control and calming. Complex Child E-Magazine. Available at: www.articles.complexchild.com/sept2009/00152.html. Accessed June 15, 2016
153
Lundeberg
T
.
Long-term results of vibratory stimulation as a pain relieving measure for chronic pain.
Pain
.
1984
;
20
(
1
):
13
23
154
Lundeberg
T
,
Abrahamsson
P
,
Bondesson
L
,
Haker
E
.
Vibratory stimulation compared to placebo in alleviation of pain.
Scand J Rehabil Med
.
1987
;
19
(
4
):
153
158
155
DeSantana
JM
,
Walsh
DM
,
Vance
C
,
Rakel
BA
,
Sluka
KA
.
Effectiveness of transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation for treatment of hyperalgesia and pain.
Curr Rheumatol Rep
.
2008
;
10
(
6
):
492
499
156
Dickerson
RN
,
Brown
RO
,
Hanna
DL
,
Williams
JE
.
Effect of upper extremity posturing on measured resting energy expenditure of nonambulatory tube-fed adult patients with severe neurodevelopmental disabilities.
JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr
.
2002
;
26
(
5
):
278
284
157
Dickerson
RN
,
Brown
RO
,
Hanna
DL
,
Williams
JE
.
Energy requirements of non-ambulatory, tube-fed adult patients with cerebral palsy and chronic hypothermia.
Nutrition
.
2003
;
19
(
9
):
741
746
158
Gale
R
,
Namestnic
J
,
Singer
P
,
Kagan
I
.
Caloric requirements of patients with brain impairment and cerebral palsy who are dependent on chronic ventilation [published online ahead of print August 15, 2016]
.
JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr
. doi:
10.1177/0148607116662970
159
McCoy
AA
,
Fox
MA
,
Schaubel
DE
,
Ayyangar
RN
.
Weight gain in children with hypertonia of cerebral origin receiving intrathecal baclofen therapy.
Arch Phys Med Rehabil
.
2006
;
87
(
11
):
1503
1508
160
Vernon-Roberts
A
,
Wells
J
,
Grant
H
, et al
.
Gastrostomy feeding in cerebral palsy: enough and no more.
Dev Med Child Neurol
.
2010
;
52
(
12
):
1099
1105
161
Hauer
JM
. Treating pain and other distressing symptoms. In:
Caring for Children Who Have Severe Neurological Impairment: A Life With Grace
.
Baltimore, MD
:
Johns Hopkins University Press
;
2013
:
65
77
162
Hauer
JM
,
Wolfe
J
.
Supportive and palliative care of children with metabolic and neurological diseases.
Curr Opin Support Palliat Care
.
2014
;
8
(
3
):
296
302
163
Section on Hospice and Palliative Medicine
;
Committee on Hospital Care
.
Pediatric palliative care and hospice care commitments, guidelines, and recommendations.
Pediatrics
.
2013
;
132
(
5
):
966
972

Competing Interests

POTENTIAL CONFLICT OF INTEREST: The authors have indicated they have no potential conflicts of interest to disclose.

FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE: The authors have indicated they have no financial relationships relevant to this article to disclose.