Spinal cord injuries can cause pain

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Many people think that a person who has a spinal cord injury won’t be able to feel pain, but hat isn’t always the case. A person who has suffered a spinal cord injury can feel different types of pain, — central, musculoskeletal and psychological pain.

Central pain is felt below the level of the injury. This is sometimes referred to as deafferentation pain, and it usually presents as a burning or tingling sensation. Typically, people who have complete spinal cord injuries won’t have this type of pain.

Musculoskeletal pain is pain that occurs above the level of the injury. There are a host of different causes for this type of pain. Most commonly, the pain is caused by overuse of the muscles in the areas above the injury. One example is soreness and pain in the arms, shoulders and chest that is caused by having to use the upper body for pulling oneself up or rolling a wheelchair.

Psychological pain is characterized by depression and similar mental health issues due to the physical pain that is felt, or simply the injury itself. This is sometimes brushed off as being a ploy for attention, but that isn’t the case. Psychological pain is a real condition that can require treatment just like physical pain.

Managing pain can seem like a full-time job, especially when there are multiple types that need to be managed. It can also be costly, which can cause stress that might make the pain seem worse. Seeking compensation for the spinal cord injury is one option that you might choose to exercise to help you recoup some of the damages from the accident.

Source: Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, “Pain,” accessed Oct. 19, 2016

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