Chronic pain in the spinal cord injured: statistical approach and pharmacological treatment

Paraplegia. 1993 Nov;31(11):722-9. doi: 10.1038/sc.1993.114.


We include in this article the results of a postal inquiry into chronic pain in SCI patients in Valencia (Spain), and our experience with their management. A mailed questionnaire including lesion and chronic pain data was sent to all of the 380 SCI patients who live in the region of Valencia. We received 202 answers, with 145 questionnaires being accurately answered and these were analysed for this study. The results show that chronic pain (that is, lasting more than 6 months) is very common (65.5%). The most frequent type was deafferentation pain (phantom pain), described as burning or a painful numbness. Since 1988 we have been treating a sample of 33 patients suffering from resistant pain according to the following therapies: 1 amitriptyline + clonazepam+NSAID (nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs); 2 amitriptyline + clonazepam + 5-OH-tryptophane + TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation); 3 amitriptyline + clonazepam + SCS (spinal cord stimulation); 4 morphine, by continuous intrathecal infusion. After almost 4 years using these therapies we can affirm that the results regarding analgesia reached 80% in all cases, and that morphine used by intrathecal route is very safe and useful in selected patients.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Chronic Disease
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain* / physiopathology
  • Palliative Care*
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / drug therapy*
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / physiopathology*
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / therapy
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Surveys and Questionnaires