The simultaneous presence of chronic primary pain, characterized by persistent or recurring pain lasting more than 3 months in one or more body regions, is linked to notable emotional distress and/or significant impairment in daily functioning in children. This condition, also known as the internalizing cluster, poses a significant health concern. Children with chronic pain experience markedly higher levels of anxiety and depression compared to their healthy counterparts, with comorbidity rates ranging from 50% to 82%.
This coexistence exacerbates and contributes to severe mental health problems (referred to as “MHP” throughout this discussion, encompassing psychopathological symptoms or mental health disorders) and pain issues in adulthood. Treatment outcomes are notably poorer, even with the most intensive interventions. Presently, there are robust conceptual frameworks elucidating this co-occurrence.