Jacobs Journal of Physical Rehabilitation Medicine

Pain, Anxiety and Depression in Spinal Cord Injured Patients

Published on: 2018-10-08


To assess the prevalence of pain, anxiety and depression in a sample of chronic SCI patients in Northern Sweden.
Descriptive, cross-sectional study.
Specialist Clinic at a University Hospital.
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).
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.
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


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