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, 18 (1), 9-13

Prevalence and Impact of Wrist and Shoulder Pain in Patients With Spinal Cord Injury

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Prevalence and Impact of Wrist and Shoulder Pain in Patients With Spinal Cord Injury

J V Subbarao et al. J Spinal Cord Med.

Abstract

Spinal cord injury (SCI) patients experience varying degrees of wrist and shoulder pain. Previous studies indicated that 30 to 64 percent of SCI patients reported chronic shoulder pain. The purpose of this study was to identify the prevalence of chronic wrist and shoulder pain, to determine which activities caused or exacerbated the pain, and assess functional and emotional responses to chronic pain and identify ways in which the pain might be reduced. Eight hundred SCI patients were surveyed by questionnaire with 451 (66 percent) responding. In addition, 30 patients were available for clinical observation and evaluation. Data was evaluated using the Statistical Analysis System and the Cornell Personal Adjustment Scale. Results indicated that wrist and shoulder pain were more prevalent than previously indicated (72.7 percent of respondents reported some degree of chronic pain in one or both of these areas), wheelchair propulsion and transfers caused most pain and also increased the degree of pain. Patient's age, neurologic level and time since injury were not statistically significant in the study and emotional responses did not significantly vary between groups with and without pain. Further, it was noted that among the pain group, various routine therapies were not effective. We conclude that alternative methods for wheelchair propulsion and transfers, which lessen stress and cumulative trauma, need to be developed for SCI patients in order to diminish the incidence of chronic upper limb pain.

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