Pain charts (body maps or manikins) in assessment of the location of pediatric pain.
This article surveys the use of pain charts or pain drawings in eliciting information about the location of pain symptoms from children and adolescents. While pain charts are widely used and have been incorporated in multidimensional pediatric pain questionnaires and diaries, they present a number of issues requiring further study. These include, in particular, the number and size of different locations or areas of pain that need to be differentiated; the age at which children are able to complete pain charts unassisted; and whether the intensity and other qualities of pain can be accurately recorded on pain charts by children and adolescents. Based on data currently available, it is suggested that the unassisted use of pain charts be restricted to children aged 8 years or over, while for clinical purposes many younger children can complete pain charts with adult support. Where the investigator's interest is restricted to a few areas of the body, checklists of body parts may have greater utility than pain charts. A new pain chart adapted for use in studies of pediatric recurrent and chronic pain is presented.