Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine the association between pain sensitivity, central sensitization, and functional disability in adolescents with joint hypermobility. Design and Methods: A cross-sectional descriptive design was utilized for this study. A sample of 40 adolescents being evaluated for chronic pain and autonomic nervous system dysfunction were recruited. Subjects were evaluated for pain, function, central sensitization, and sensitivity on pain and touch sensory nerve fiber types. Data were analyzed to detect associations between variables. Results: Joint hypermobility had a moderately significant correlation with central sensitization measured by the Central Sensitization Inventory, as well as increased pain sensitivity as evidenced by hypersensitivity of Aδ sensory nerve fibers. The presence of central sensitization was also positively associated with level of functional disability. Conclusions: Findings implicate joint hypermobility as a possible antecedent to pain hypersensitivity and central sensitization syndromes that when recognized and addressed effectively may reduce functional disability in those affected. Practice Implications: It is important for pediatric nurses that work with adolescents that have chronic pain to understand variables that may impact pain and functional disability in order to develop methods to increase function, reduce pain, and increase perceived quality of life.
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