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Pain Research and Management
Volume 17, Issue 6, Pages 413-417

Functional Abdominal Pain in Childhood: Background Studies and Recent Research Trends

Rona L Levy1 and Miranda AL van Tilburg2

1School of Social Work, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA
2Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA

Copyright © 2012 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The present review summarizes many of the major research trends investigated in the past five years regarding pediatric functional abdominal pain, and also summarizes the primary related findings from the authors’ research program. Specific areas discussed based on work within the authors’ group include familial illness patterns, genetics, traits, and mechanisms or processes related to abdominal pain. Topics covered from research published in the past five years include prevalence and cost, longitudinal follow-up, overlap with other disorders, etiology and mechanisms behind functional abdominal pain and treatment studies. It is hoped that findings from this work in abdominal pain will be interpreted as a framework for understanding the processes by which other pain phenomena and, more broadly, reactions to any physical state, can be developed and maintained in children. The present article concludes with recommendations for clinical practice and research.