Pain characteristics in patients admitted to hospital with complications after spinal cord injury

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2003 Jun;84(6):789-95. doi: 10.1016/s0003-9993(02)04944-4.


Objectives: To determine characteristics of pain, the relation between pain and mood, the effect of pain on activities, and the perceived difficulty in coping with pain in patients hospitalized for treatment of complications associated with spinal cord injury (SCI).

Design: Cohort survey.

Setting: Hospital inpatient unit in Australia.

Participants: Consecutive sample of patients (N=88) admitted to a hospital spinal injuries unit with complications after SCI. Two eligible patients declined to participate.

Intervention: Face-to-face interview with questionnaire.

Main outcome measures: Pain severity, global self-rated health, mood (Kessler Mood Inventory), and interference with activities (Von Korff disability scale).

Results: Sixty-six (75%) of the 88 subjects experienced pain, with an average time of onset +/- standard deviation of 8.02+/-12.4 years; 27% of those with pain described it as severe or excruciating. Subjects with pain were less likely to rate their global health as excellent or very good when compared with those who did not have pain (22% vs 44%, respectively). Patients with pain had significantly greater levels of psychologic distress than did people with SCI and no pain.

Conclusions: Pain is a common problem in people admitted to hospital with SCI for treatment of other complications. It has a significant impact on activities and is associated with a reduction in global self-rated health and higher levels of psychologic distress.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Chronic Disease
  • Cohort Studies
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Female
  • Hospitalization*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain / etiology*
  • Pain / psychology
  • Pain Management
  • Pain Measurement
  • Patient Admission*
  • Personality Inventory
  • Quality of Life
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / complications*
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / rehabilitation
  • Surveys and Questionnaires