Assessment of the impact of pain and impairments associated with spinal cord injuries

Eva G. Widerstrem-Noga, Robert Duncan, Ernesto Felipe-Cuervo, Dennis C. Turk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


Objectives: To determine the adequacy of the Multidimensional Pain Inventory (MPI) for assessing pain impact after spinal cord injury (SCI) and to determine whether the impact of pain can be separated from other consequences of SCI. Design: Postal survey. Setting: General community. Participants: Of the 159 subjects contacted who experienced chronic pain, 120 (75.5%) participated. Interventions: Subjects were mailed the original MPI and a set of additional items specific to SCI. Main Outcome Measure: The MPI. Results: Confirmatory (CFA) and exploratory factor analyses were performed for each section of the MPI. Elimination of several items, including those related to work in section 1 (pain impact), improved the goodness-of-fit index (GFI). A CFA for section 2 (response of significant other) resulted in acceptable GFI after 2 items were deleted. Decrease in activity levels (section 3) because of other consequences of injury was significantly greater after tetraplegia than after paraplegia. In contrast, pain-related reduction in activities was not associated with injury level. Although other consequences of SCI may have greater impact on activities than pain, severe pain is likely to affect activity levels significantly. Conclusion: The MPI appears to be appropriate for use in a SCI population when modified to eliminate questions related to work and to supplement the activity scale with items addressing decreased activity levels due to pain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)395-404
Number of pages10
JournalArchives of physical medicine and rehabilitation
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2002


  • Disabled persons
  • Pain
  • Pain measurement
  • Paraplegia
  • Rehabilitation
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Tetraplegia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation


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