Pain among veterans with spinal cord injury

Philip M. Ullrich, Mark P. Jensen, John D. Loeser, Diana D. Cardenas, Frances M. Weaver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The Department of Veterans Affairs Veterans Health Administration cares for approximately 15% of persons with spinal cord injury (SCI) in the United States. However, the nature and characteristics of pain among veterans with SCI are not well understood. This study used a postal survey to compare veterans with SCI and nonveterans with SCI on pain intensity; pain interference; functioning; and other pain, demographic, and medical characteristics. Veterans tended to be older than nonveterans but these groups were otherwise comparable on demographic and medical variables. Veterans were not significantly different from nonveterans on pain intensity or pain interference. Veterans reported lower levels of functioning than nonveterans and higher levels of pain-related catastrophizing. However, differences in functioning between veterans and nonveterans were attributable to age differences between the groups. In summary, differences between veterans with SCI and nonveterans with SCI were few and small in magnitude, suggesting that veterans with SCI are not at greater risk for pain and pain-related problems. However, pain-related catastrophizing may be a particular concern among veterans with SCI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)793-800
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of rehabilitation research and development
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Age
  • Catastrophizing
  • Chronic pain
  • Functioning
  • Pain
  • Pain intensity
  • Pain interference
  • Rehabilitation
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Veterans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation


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