Jacobs Journal of Physical Rehabilitation Medicine

Pain, Anxiety and Depression in Spinal Cord Injured Patients

Published on: 2018-10-08

Abstract

Objective:
To assess the prevalence of pain, anxiety and depression in a sample of chronic SCI patients in Northern Sweden.
Design:
Descriptive, cross-sectional study.
Setting:
Specialist Clinic at a University Hospital.
Participants:
78 patients with chronic spinal cord injury, at different injury and functional level.
Outcome measures:
Patients registered presented pain above, at or below injury level on a Visual Analogue Scale (VAS). Patients currently on pain medication were also registered as having pain. Depression and anxiety were assessed by the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Rating Scale (HADS).
Results:
Out of 78 patients, 58 (74%) indicated current presence of pain or were on continuous pain medication. Pain above injury level was present in 32% of the patients, with a mean VAS of 15.9±20.1, range 0-60mm. Pain at injury level were present in 24% of the patients, mean VAS 11.0±17.0, range 0-50mm and 58% had pain below injury level with a mean VAS 31.4±22.3, range 0-80mm.Clinically significant psychological disorders were reported in 4 patients (5%) for both anxiety and depression.
Conclusions:
Pain is very common in persons with chronic SCI, but, at least in a drug-treated population, the pain is at a mild or moderate level. Anxiety and depression were found much less common than reported in other studies. Medication effects have been considered. Even in a presumably well-medicated and well-rehabilitated population, there is still a need for further optimization of pain management, including both pharmacological and non-pharmacological methods

Keywords

Tetraplegia; Paraplegia; Psychological Disorders; Visual Analogue Scale; Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale