Individual understanding of and expectations for chronic pain treatment can influence treatment adherence and thus success, but little is known about these critical factors in parents and children presenting with pain-predominant functional gastrointestinal disorders. The aim of this study was to identify parent and patient understanding of pain-predominant functional gastrointestinal disorders, expectations for treatment, and interventions utilized before presenting to a multidisciplinary clinic.
Materials and Methods:
This was a prospective study of patients evaluated in a Multidisciplinary Functional Abdominal Pain Program. Before the clinic visit, parents and patients completed questionnaires regarding their understanding of chronic pain, perceptions of abdominal pain contributors, expectations regarding treatment, and identification of previous interventions utilized.
Participants were knowledgeable regarding the biology of chronic pain. Perceptions of contributors to abdominal pain included a sensitive stomach, general stress, and nerves/worry. Most had attempted to treat their pain with medication, exercise or physical therapy, or a psychological treatment. Participants reported that receiving a definite diagnosis would be the most helpful intervention, followed by psychological treatment.
Participants were knowledgeable regarding chronic pain, but still indicated that receiving a definite diagnosis would be the most helpful intervention. Most had tried multiple interventions and did not believe that further medication, testing, or surgery would solve their pain. Instead, parents presenting at this Functional Abdominal Pain Program appeared most hopeful about the benefits of multidisciplinary treatment approaches including psychological interventions, a focus on activity and functioning, and complementary and alternative medicine interventions.