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Natural History of SCI Pain

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Turner et al. (2001) examined the timing of the development of pain post-SCI noted that in 901 patients with SCI, pain started immediately after SCI in 34%, within the first year in 58%, pain increased over time in 47% and decreased over time in 7%. Turner et al. (2001) noted that pain most often started within the first six months following SCI. This has also been noted in several other studies (Nepomuceno et al. 1979; Siddall et al. 1999; Stormer et al. 1997; Turner & Cardenas 1999).

Conclusion

For many SCI patients, pain has a significant impact on quality of life.

Over 50% of SCI patients develop chronic pain. Severe pain is more common the lower down the lesion in the spinal cord. Pain post SCI most often begins within the first six to 12 months post-SCI.

  • Post-SCI pain is common and often severe beginning relatively early post-injury.