Pain and its relationship with postural asymmetry in adults with cerebral palsy: A preliminary exploratory study

Carlee Holmes, Kim Brock, Prue Morgan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Pain in adults with cerebral palsy (CP) is commonly reported, with muscular and skeletal dysfunction resulting in postural asymmetry as potential contributors to multifactorial causes of pain. The relationship between pain and postural asymmetry of the thoracic cage, pelvis and hips in non-ambulatory adults with CP however is unknown, particularly in those with cognitive and communication limitations. Objective: The primary aim of this study was to describe and quantify day and night pain in non-ambulatory adults with CP. Secondary aims were to investigate any relationship between pain and postural asymmetry and to describe current pain management strategies utilised. Methods: Pain was measured using the Non Communicating Adult Pain Checklist (NCAPC). Posture was measured using the Goldsmith Indices of Body Symmetry (GIofBS) and radiographs. Correlations between pain scores and posture (GIofBS and radiographs) were assessed using non-parametric analysis. Information regarding pain management strategies was gained from medical records and carer interviews. Results: Seventeen non-ambulatory adults with CP were recruited. High levels of day pain were experienced by ≥ 50% of participants with a high incidence of prescribed medications targeting pain. Strong positive correlations between day and night NCAPC scores, chest right left ratio and night pain, Cobb angle and day pain and between Cobb angle and night pain were evident. Conclusion: The incidence and severity of pain in non-ambulatory adults with CP is high with postural asymmetry a potential contributor. Pain remains difficult to assess and manage in adults with significant cognitive and communication impairments and warrants further investigation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101063
Number of pages6
JournalDisability and Health Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021


  • Cerebral palsy
  • Pain
  • Posture
  • Radiographs
  • Scoliosis
  • Windswept hips

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