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Chronic pain in a community-based sample of men with spinal cord injury: Prevalence, severity, and relationship with impairment, disability, handicap, and subjective well-being

Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/s0003-9993(98)90032-6
  • Medicine


Abstract Objective: To assess the prevalence, severity, and correlates of chronic pain in a community-based sample of men with spinal cord injury (SCI). Design: Survey. Setting: Community. Participants: Seventy-seven men with SCI randomly selected from a sampling frame solicited from the community. Method: Participants completed standardized questionnaires assessing many areas of life, were interviewed in their homes, and underwent a physical examination at a hospital. There they were interviewed by an anesthesiologist regarding chronic pain, and a nurse administered objective pain measures. Results: Seventy-five percent of the men reported chronic pain. Chronic pain was associated with more depressive symptoms, more perceived stress, and poorer self-assessed health. Greater intensity of pain was related to less paralytic impairment, violent etiology, and more perceived stress. Area of the body affected by pain was related to independence and mobility. Conclusions: Because of the high prevalence of chronic pain in the population with SCI and its relation to disability, handicap, and quality of life, health care providers need to give this issue the same priority given to other SCI health issues. Analysis of individual pain components provides better information than assessing overall pain. It is futile to treat SCI pain without giving full attention to subjective factors.

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