Child and adolescent musculoskeletal pain (CAM-Pain) feasibility study: Testing a method of identifying, recruiting and collecting data from children and adolescents who consult about a musculoskeletal condition in UK general practice

Zoe A. Michaleff, Paul Campbell*, Alastair D. Hay, Louise Warburton, Kate M. Dunn

*Corresponding author for this work

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Objectives Test a method of identifying, recruiting and collecting data from children and adolescents who consult their general practitioner about a musculoskeletal condition. Design Prospective cohort feasibility study. Setting 13 general practices in West Midlands of England. Participants Patients aged 8-19 years who consult their general practice about a musculoskeletal condition. Patients were identified via a relevant musculoskeletal Read code entered at the point of consultation. Outcome measures Feasibility was assessed in terms of study processes (recruitment rates), data collection procedures (duration, response variability), resource utilisation (mail-outs) and ethical considerations (acceptability). Results From October 2016 to February 2017, an eligible musculoskeletal Read code was entered on 343 occasions, 202 patients were excluded (declined, n=153; screened not suitable, n=49) at the point of consultation. The remaining 141 patients were mailed an invitation to participate (41.1%); 46 patients responded to the invitation (response rate: 32.6%), of which 27 patients consented (consent rate: 19.1%). Participants mean age was 13.7 years (SD 2.7) and current pain intensity was 2.8 (SD 2.7). All participants completed the 6-week follow-up questionnaire. All participants found the interview questions to be acceptable and would consider participating in a similar study in the future. The majority of general practitioners/nurse practitioners, and all of the research nurses reported to be adequately informed about the study and found the study processes acceptable. Conclusion The expected number of participants were identified and invited, but consent rate was low (<20%) indicating that this method is not feasible (eg, for use in a large prospective study). Recruiting children and adolescents with musculoskeletal conditions in a primary care setting currently presents a challenge for researchers. Further work is needed to identify alternative ways to conduct studies in this population in order to address the current knowledge gap in this field.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere021116
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2018
Externally publishedYes


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