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Spinal Cord Injury, Mental Health, & Pain

Pain Management Intervention Needed

The journal Spinal Cord has published an article titled “Psychological morbidity following spinal cord injury and among those without spinal cord injury: the impact of chronic centralized and neuropathic pain.” Researchers compared psychological morbidities—such as mood disorders, sleep problems, anxiety, dementia—in people with and without spinal cord injuries. Via private insurance claims, over 9,000 adults with traumatic spinal cord injury were compared to over 1 million adults without an injury. Chronic pain proved to be a greater influence on substance use disorder, PTSD, and other mental health conditions brought about by a spinal cord injury than did living with the injury.

Although insurance and services availability have hampered this issue being tackled, “Improved clinical efforts are needed to facilitate screening of, and early treatment for, both chronic pain and psychological health in this higher-risk population,” commented lead author Mark Peterson, PhD, associate professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Michigan Medicine. More research funding, along with better insurance coverage, is called for.


Access the journal article.

Read the press release.

Holly Caster