Assessing and treating pain associated with stroke, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, spinal cord injury and spasticity. Evidence and recommendations from the Italian Consensus Conference on Pain in Neurorehabilitation

Eur J Phys Rehabil Med. 2016 Dec;52(6):827-840. Epub 2016 Aug 31.


Pain is a common and disabling symptom in patients with stroke, multiple sclerosis (MS), cerebral palsy (CP), spinal cord injury (SCI) and other conditions associated with spasticity, but data on its prevalence, and natural history, as well as guidelines on its assessment and treatment in the field of neurorehabilitation, are largely lacking. The Italian Consensus Conference on Pain in Neurorehabilitation (ICCPN) searched and evaluated current evidence on the frequency, evolution, predictors, assessment, and pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatment of pain in patients with stroke, MS, CP, SCI and other conditions associated with spasticity. Patients with stroke, MS, CP, and SCI may suffer from pain related to spasticity, as well as nociceptive and neuropathic pain (NP), whose prevalence, natural history, impact on functional outcome, and predictors are only partially known. Diagnosis and assessment of the different types of pain in these patients is important, because their treatment may differ. Botulinum neurotoxin is the first choice treatment for spasticity, while some antidepressant and antiepileptic drugs may be effective on NP, but pharmacological treatment varies according to the underlying disease. In most cases, a single therapy is not sufficient to treat pain, and a multidisciplinary approach, which include pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments is needed. Further studies, and in particular randomized controlled trials, are needed on these topics.

Publication types

  • Consensus Development Conference

MeSH terms

  • Cerebral Palsy / complications*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Multiple Sclerosis / complications*
  • Muscle Spasticity / complications*
  • Neuralgia / etiology*
  • Neuralgia / rehabilitation*
  • Neurological Rehabilitation / methods*
  • Nociceptive Pain / etiology*
  • Nociceptive Pain / rehabilitation*
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Pain Management / methods*
  • Pain Measurement*
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / complications*
  • Stroke / complications*
  • Translational Research, Biomedical