Uncovering musculoskeletal pain susceptibility profiles since childhood by bringing together population and clinical cohorts


This study bridges population-based and clinical cohorts to investigate early markers of adverse musculoskeletal pain trajectories. The project examines the ways that children and their caregivers use to describe the child’s pain experience, and to assesses which early features are the most useful to predict whether children are going to develop later musculoskeletal pain, including in the absence of a medical condition that can biologically account for pain.

Facts and Figures

Project Lead
R Lucas
Universidade do Porto
FOREUM research grant: € 200.000

Meet the Team

Project Lead

R Lucas
Universidade do Porto
M Talih
Universidade do Porto
A Rocha
M J Santos
Portuguese Society of Rheumatology
E Frazão Mateus
C Cooper
University of Southampton
L Carmona
Instituto de Salud Musculoesquelética
G Goncalves


  • to identify accurate predictors of non-specific musculoskeletal pain at age 16 years, among a wide set of pain-related traits collected since birth
  • to assess whether experimental pain response is altered before the onset of non-specific musculoskeletal pain
  • to develop an interactive graphical tool to quantify the long-term explicit memory of pain, and to compare the experiences described by adolescents with non-specific musculoskeletal pain to those of adolescents with diagnosed juvenile idiopathic arthritis.


  • M1: Data collection protocol designed
  • M2: Online software developed and pilot-tested
  • M3: Data collection completed from G21 and JIA chohorts
  • M4: Interim data analysis report
  • M5: Research papers prepared
  • M6: Dissemination of first results in scientific and society-oriented events

Patient Voice

The individual pain trajectories will be of added-value in describing subjective impact of pain, as an addition to other well-established patient-reported outcomes. In the long term it is expected that the results will be useful to

  • inform health professionals on how to identify children at higher risk of musculoskeletal pain in the absence of an identifiable disease
  • provide parents with a set of alerts to signal that specialized help should be sought.

Project Map