Early-life programming of pain sensation? Spinal pain in pre-adolescents with pain experience in early life.Eur J Pediatr 2019EJ
Neurobiological mechanisms can be involved in early programming of pain sensitization. We aimed to investigate the association between early-life pain experience and pre-adolescence spinal pain. We conducted a study of 29,861 pre-adolescents (age 11-14) from the Danish National Birth Cohort. As indicators of early-life pain, we used infantile colic and recurrent otitis media, reported by mothers when their children were 6 and 18 months. Self-reported spinal pain (neck, middle back, and/or low back pain) was obtained in the 11-year follow-up, classified according to severity. Associations between early-life pain and spinal pain in pre-adolescents were estimated using multinomial logistic regression models. To account for sample selection, inverse probability weighting was applied. Children experiencing pain in early life were more likely to report severe spinal pain in pre-adolescence. The association appeared stronger with exposure to two pain exposures (relative risk ratio, 1.31; 95% CI, 1.02-1.68) rather than one (relative risk ratio, 1.14; 95% CI, 1.05-1.24). We observed similar results when using headache and abdominal pain as outcome measures, underpinning a potential neurobiological or psychosocial link in programming of pain sensitization.