Gender related differences in pain in spinal cord injured individuals

Spinal Cord. 2003 Feb;41(2):122-8. doi: 10.1038/


Study design: Out of a population of 456 patients with spinal cord injuries (SCI), 130 having pain were selected after matching, based on gender, age, American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) impairment grade and level of lesion.

Objective: To investigate whether gender differences with regard to pain perception and prevalence exist in a population of patients following spinal cord injury.

Setting: Spinalis SCI Unit (out-patient clinic), Stockholm, Sweden.

Method: 130 patients suffering from pain were assessed over a 12-month period in a yearly health control.

Results: SCI women had a higher prevalence of nociceptive pain than men and their use of analgesics was greater. However, no differences between the sexes could be seen regarding pain and localization, onset, distribution, factors affecting pain, number of painful body regions, pain descriptors, ratings of pain intensities or in pain and life satisfaction.

Conclusion: This study showed that SCI men and women describe their pain very similarly. However, SCI women had a higher prevalence of nociceptive pain than men and their use of opiates and non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) was greater.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Analgesics / therapeutic use
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Child
  • Chronic Disease
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain / epidemiology
  • Pain / etiology*
  • Pain / prevention & control
  • Pain Measurement
  • Prevalence
  • Quality of Life
  • Sex Factors
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / complications*
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Sweden / epidemiology


  • Analgesics