Healthcare service use in adolescents with non-specific musculoskeletal pain

Stefano Masiero, Elena Carraro, Diego Sarto, Lara Bonaldo, Claudio Ferraro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aim: To estimate occurrence of non-specific musculoskeletal pain in a wide population sample of Italian adolescents, and to investigate their use of healthcare services (seeking of medical attention, referral for diagnostic tests and treatment use). Methods: We investigated 7542 high-school adolescents (aged between 12 and 16 years) by a structured questionnaire and consisting of personal data, presence of pain, health provider consulted, referral for diagnostic tests and compliance with the prescribed treatments. Results: In 3399 (45.1%) reported musculoskeletal pain (the most affected sites being the spine and knees), 2525 (74.2%) of whom had sought medical attention. Of the 2525 subjects who had sought healthcare, 1061 (42.0%) had consulted more than one health provider, 2410 (95.4%) had been referred for diagnostic tests, and some form of treatment had been recommended for 2445 (96.8%), but only 1694 (69.2%) had complied with prescribed therapies. The most important factors linked to health seeking behaviour were pain intensity, pain lasting longer than 3 months, injury, interruption to or absence of physical activity and localization in the spine and knee. Conclusion: Non-specific musculoskeletal pain is a frequent event in Italian adolescents and that a large number of these subjects consult a healthcare service.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1224-1228
Number of pages5
JournalActa Paediatrica, International Journal of Paediatrics
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2010


  • Adolescence
  • Health care service
  • Pain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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