Send to

Choose Destination
Pain. 1999 May;81(1-2):187-97.

Pain report and the relationship of pain to physical factors in the first 6 months following spinal cord injury.

Author information

Pain Management and Research Centre, University of Sydney, Royal North Shore Hospital, St. Leonards, NSW, Australia.


A prospective, longitudinal study of 100 people with traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) was performed to determine the time of onset. prevalence and severity of different types of pain (musculoskeletal, visceral, neuropathic at level, neuropathic below level) at 2, 4, 8, 13 and 26 weeks following SCI. In addition, we sought to determine the relationship between physical factors such as level of lesion, completeness and clinical SCI syndrome and the presence of pain. At 6 months following SCI, 40% of people had musculoskeletal pain, none had visceral pain, 36% had neuropathic at level pain and 19% had neuropathic below level pain. When all types of pain were included, at 6 months following injury, 64% of people in the study had pain, and 21% of people had pain that was rated as severe. Those with neuropathic below level pain were most likely to report their pain as severe or excruciating. There was no relationship between the presence of pain overall and level or completeness of lesion, or type of injury. Significant differences were found, however, when specific types of pain were examined. Musculoskeletal pain was more common in people with thoracic level injuries. Neuropathic pain associated with allodynia was more common in people who had incomplete spinal cord lesions, cervical rather than thoracic spinal cord lesions, and central cord syndrome. Therefore, this study suggests that most people continue to experience pain 6 months following spinal cord injury and 21% of people continue to experience severe pain. While the presence or absence of pain overall does not appear to be related to physical factors following SCI, there does appear to be a relationship between physical factors and pain when the pain is classified into specific types.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wolters Kluwer
Loading ...
Support Center