the model systems knowledge translation
presents pain after spinal cord injury
this slideshow is based on research
by the spinal cord injury model systems
and serves as a resource for individuals
with spinal cord injury
and their supporters the model systems
knowledge translation center
is funded by the national institute on
and rehabilitation research
this resource summarizes the research on
after spinal cord injury that can help
people living with spinal cord injury
understand their pain work with their
and identify treatments that help manage
pain and improve
quality of life
chronic pain is described as pain that
lasts for months
or years and doesn't go away
it is often related to nerve damage
after a spinal cord injury
or from musculoskeletal problems from
for example shoulder pain although
chronic pain
may be difficult to treat and eliminate
there are treatments available to help
or reduce it what are the types of pain
neuropathic pain is caused by abnormal
between the nerves that were damaged by
a spinal cord injury
and the brain this pain can come from
areas of the body
right at or below where the spinal cord
injury occurred
neuropathic pain is usually described
as burning stabbing or tingling
pins and needles neuropathic pain
is often very difficult to treat and a
combination of treatments
may be needed to reduce the pain
musculoskeletal pain is a common problem
for people
as they get older it gets worse with
and better with rest musculoskeletal
is caused by problems in the muscles
or bones resulting in injury
overuse or strain arthritic changes
or wear and tear to the joints it can
also occur
with wheelchair use and or transfer
upper limb pain usually in the shoulder
elbow and hand is caused by the overuse
of muscles
this pain can make it difficult for a
person to transfer in a wheelchair
safely or perform other activities of
daily living
other forms of musculoskeletal pain
are back and neck pain which are common
and muscle spasm pain which occurs when
and joints are strained due to
another type of pain is visceral pain
located in the abdomen or pelvis
it is described as a crampy and or dull
aching feeling visceral pain
is caused by medical problems such as
gallstones kidney stones or
appendicitis people with spinal cord
may not have typical symptoms associated
with these conditions
therefore if any type of pain is
that is associated with other symptoms
such as fever
chills or dysreflexia
seeing a doctor who has experience
caring for spinal cord injury patients
for correct diagnosis and treatment is
important what can be done to manage
after spinal cord injury
musculoskeletal pain after spinal cord
can be managed by modifying activity
this can be accomplished by changing how
mobility equipment
such as a wheelchair and sliding board
is used
doing exercises that strengthen and
balance joints
i'm modifying how pressure reliefs are
two other physical treatments are
therapeutic massages
and acupuncture therapeutic massages
are used to help with muscle tightness
and imbalance
acupuncture is used to stimulate the
body's pain
control system or block the flow of pain
psychological techniques have been used
to help manage pain
relaxation techniques teach people how
to reduce muscle pain tension
and mental tension self-hypnosis
has proven to help reduce chronic pain
in some people
cognitive restructuring helps people
differently about pain and in turn
can lead to changes in the experience of
individual psychotherapy helps identify
and increase pleasure and meaning in
daily life which can reduce
pain another way to control
pain is to take medication there is six
different types of medications that can
be taken
to help with reducing pain non-steroidal
anti-inflammatory drugs are used to
musculoskeletal pain anti-seizure
are used to treat neuropathic pain
antidepressants are used to treat
neuropathic pain
and depression narcotics or opiates
are used to treat neuropathic and
musculoskeletal pain
muscle relaxants and anti-spasticity
are used to treat spasm-related and
musculoskeletal pain
topical local anesthetics are used to
treat pain
that occurs when skin is lightly touched
another option to reduce pain is to have
a surgical treatment performed
a dorsal column stimulator is used to
treat neuropathic pain
due to damage at the root in this
a stimulator is surgically placed in the
spinal canal
next to the spinal cord or nerve roots
another surgical treatment is the
intrathecal pump
that contains morphine or baclofen
that is surgically placed under the skin
in the abdomen
it delivers the medication directly to
the spinal cord
and nerve roots
some techniques for prevention and
include getting treatment for medical
problems or depression
exercising daily keeping a daily record
of pain
trying to reduce stress levels and are
finding distractions
from focusing on the pain make sure to
get a wheelchair seating evaluation
and don't use alcohol to ease the pain
more information can be provided to you
by working with a physician
or psychologist talking with a spinal
cord injury staff member
and working closely with a provider who
spinal cord injury
for additional resources on living with
a spinal cord injury
please visit the model systems knowledge
translation center website

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