Chronic pain after spinal cord injury: What characteristics make some pains more disturbing than others?

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51 Scopus citations


Different types of pain are often present in the same individual with spinal cord injury (SCI). Relieving the most disturbing of these pains may substantially affect quality of life. Persons with SCI and chronic pain (n = 194) completed a structured interview that detailed the characteristics of each pain they experienced. Pairwise analyses revealed that the following characteristics were more common among the most disturbing pains: "sharp"; "stabbing"; located at the level of injury; frequently aggravated; and having high intensity, unpleasantness, constancy, interference, and neuropathic pain-like features. A conditional logistic regression analysis showed that the combination of "sharp" and high pain intensity, interference, aggravation, and constancy significantly predicted the most disturbing pain (p < 0.001). This study suggests that, in addition to pain intensity, factors such as interference, quality, aggravation, and constancy of pain are important to consider when one evaluates SCI-related pain, since these symptoms may indicate pains that are particularly disturbing to an individual with SCI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)703-716
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of rehabilitation research and development
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2007


  • Chronic pain
  • Intractable pain
  • Neuropathic pain
  • Numerical rating scale
  • Pain descriptors
  • Pain interference
  • Quality of life
  • Rehabilitation
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Structured interview

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation


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