Study design: Cross-sectional study. Objectives: Central neuropathic pain (CNP) is common after spinal cord injury (SCI). The psychological impact of CNP is not clear. Previous studies reported depression and pain catastrophizing among patients with SCI and CNP; however, the lack of control groups prevented discerning whether these were attributed to CNP or to the SCI itself. The aim was to examine the psychological distress among individuals with SCI with and without CNP and controls to evaluate its impact and possible source. Setting: Outpatient clinic of a large rehabilitation center. Methods: Individuals with SCI and CNP (n = 27) and without CNP (n = 23), and able-bodied controls (n = 20) participated. Data collection included sociodemographics, SCI characteristics, and level of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, stress, depression, and pain catastrophizing. The sensory, affective, and cognitive dimensions of CNP were analyzed. Results: Individuals with SCI and CNP exhibited elevated levels of PTSD, anxiety, stress, depression, and pain catastrophizing compared to the two control groups, which presented similar levels. The psychological variables among the CNP group correlated positively only with the affective dimension of CNP. Neither CNP nor the psychological variables correlated with SCI characteristics. Conclusions: Irrespective of CNP intensity, the affective dimension (suffering) is associated with increased psychological distress. Perhaps individual differences in the response to SCI and/or individual traits rather than the mere exposure to SCI may have a role in the emergence of CNP and psychological distress/mood dysfunction. Rehabilitation programs should prioritize stress management and prevention among individuals with SCI and CNP.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2017 International Spinal Cord Society.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology