Upper extremity pain in the postrehabilitation spinal cord injured patient

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 1992 Jan;73(1):44-8.


The purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence of upper extremity (UE) pain in outpatients with chronic spinal cord injury (SCI). A total of 239 SCI outpatients (136 with quadriplegia and 103 with paraplegia) were interviewed for the presence of UE pain at the shoulder, elbow, wrist, and hand. The average age of the subjects at the time of interview was 37.4 years, and the average time since onset was 12.1 years. Subjects who reported pain were referred to SCI clinics to determine the etiology. Fifty-five percent of the patients with quadriplegia reported UE pain, most commonly at the shoulder. Prevalence of reported pain was highest for subjects in the first five years postinjury. Sixty-four percent of patients with paraplegia reported UE pain. Complaints related to carpal tunnel syndrome were the most common, followed by those related to shoulder pain. This study documents the prevalence and nature of UE pain in chronic SCI patients and emphasizes the need for further research to develop strategies for prevention and treatment of pain syndromes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Arm*
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome / complications
  • Chronic Disease
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain / epidemiology
  • Pain / etiology*
  • Paraplegia / complications
  • Quadriplegia / complications
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / complications*