Health Care Utilization

Children & Adolescents with Pain Syndromes

Lead Author(s): 

Aimee O. Hersh, MD

Supporting Author(s): 

Sylvia I. Watkins-Castillo, PhD

Pain syndromes were diagnosed in more than 2.5 million children and adolescent health care visits in 2012, of which 66% (1.7 million) had a primary diagnosis of a pain syndrome. Less the 1% of children and adolescents with any pain syndrome diagnoses were hospitalized (20,800), while a tiny fraction (1,900) with a primary diagnosis had a hospital discharge. The majority of children and adolescents with a pain syndrome diagnosis were seen in physicians’ offices. (Reference Table 7.1.1 PDF CSV and Table 7.1.2 PDF CSV)

Females were hospitalized with a pain syndrome diagnosis in slightly higher numbers than males, both for any diagnoses and as a primary diagnosis. Pain syndrome diagnoses increase as a contributing diagnosis in older children, but as a primary diagnosis age is not a factor.

Any diagnoses of pain syndrome accounted for just over 4% of hospitalizations for any musculoskeletal condition diagnosis, and 0.3% of all hospitalizations for any health care condition. Hospitalizations with a primary diagnosis pain syndrome were 0.4% of all musculoskeletal diagnoses and a tiny portion of hospitalizations for any health condition diagnosis. (Reference Table 7.11 PDF CSV)

Hospital Discharges for Children and Adolescents Age 20 and Under with Musculoskeletal (MSK) Pain Syndrome Diagnosis, by Sex and Age, United States 2012


  • 2014

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