Treatments for chronic pain in persons with spinal cord injury: A survey study
Short Title: 
Treatments for chronic pain in persons with spinal cord injury

BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVE: To determine the degree and duration of pain relief provided by specific pain treatments used by individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI) who have chronic pain. DESIGN: Postal survey. SETTING: Community. PARTICIPANTS: Participants were 117 individuals who had traumatic SCI, were 18 years of age or older, and reported a chronic pain problem. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Questions assessing current or past use of 26 different pain treatments, the amount of relief each treatment provided, and the length of time that any pain relief usually lasts. RESULTS: The medications tried most often were nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (tried by 71%) and acetaminophen (tried by 70%); these medications were still being used by more than one half of the patients who had tried them. Opioids produced the greatest degree of pain relief on average (mean, 6.27 +/- 3.05 [SD] on a 0-10 scale, with 0 = no relief and 10 = complete relief) but were unlikely to be continued by those who tried them. Although 38% of respondents with pain had tried gabapentin, only 17% were still using it, and average pain relief was only moderate (mean, 3.32 +/- 3.03 on the 0-10 relief scale). Seventy-three percent of the respondents had tried at least 1 of 7 alternative pain treatments, and the most frequently tried were massage, marijuana, and acupuncture. The most relief was provided by massage (mean, 6.05 +/- 2.47] on the 0-10 relief scale) and marijuana (mean, 6.62 +/- 2.54 on the 0-10 relief scale). The relief from the various treatments, including most medications, tended to last only minutes or hours; however, pain relief from alternative treatments such as massage, acupuncture, and hypnosis was reported to last for days in 25% to 33% of those who tried these treatments. CONCLUSIONS: Many patients are not finding adequate pain relief from commonly prescribed medications. Alternative therapies should be considered as additional treatment options in this population.

Cardenas, Diana D.
Jensen, Mark P.
Item Type: 
Journal Article
Publication Title: 
The Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine
Journal Abbreviation: 
J Spinal Cord Med
Publication Date: 
Publication Year: 
Library Catalog: 
PMID: 16739554 PMCID: PMC1864800

Turabian/Chicago Citation

Diana D. Cardenas and Mark P. Jensen. 2006. "Treatments for chronic pain in persons with spinal cord injury: A survey study." The Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine 29: 2: 109-117.

Wikipedia Citation

<ref> {{Cite journal | doi = | issn = 1079-0268 | volume = 29 | pages = 109-117 | last = Cardenas | first = Diana D. | coauthors = Jensen, Mark P. | title = Treatments for chronic pain in persons with spinal cord injury: A survey study | journal = The Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine | date = 2006 | pmid = | pmc = }} </ref>