Pain in an SCI can be complicated and confusing. You may feel pain where you have feeling. But you may also feel pain in an area where otherwise you have no feeling. The pain may be severe at some times. But at other times it may disappear or bother you only a little.
Don't ignore your pain. Talk to your doctor about it. The doctor can help figure out the type of pain and how to manage it. Also, pain can signal a more serious problem.
There are different types of pain, and they are often described in different ways.
Neuropathic pain around the injury area is the most common type of pain with an SCI. This pain is caused by damage to the nervous system.
This type of pain may occur in different areas of the body. For example:
Musculoskeletal pain occurs in the bones, joints, and muscles. The pain is usually made worse by movement and eased with rest. It's often described as a dull or aching pain.
There are different types of musculoskeletal pain.
Visceral pain occurs in the belly. The pain can be described as burning, cramping, and constant.
Treatment for pain from an SCI depends on the type of pain you have. Treatments may include:
These may help reduce pain. They may also help you cope with stress and improve your emotional and physical well-being. These therapies include:
This treatment applies brief pulses of electricity to nerve endings in the skin. It can relieve chronic pain.
This focuses on your mental health and conditions such as stress and depression. These can happen along with chronic pain and can make it worse. To recover from your chronic pain, it's important to take care of your emotional health and your physical health.
These include anticonvulsants (such as gabapentin) and tricyclic antidepressants (such as amitriptyline).
Segmental pain may be treated by injecting an anesthetic medicine into the space between the wall of the spinal canal and the covering of the spinal cord. This is called an epidural block. Or surgical procedures that cut nerve roots may be used for this type of pain.
These may be used to treat secondary overuse pain. Limiting or taking breaks from the activity that causes pain may also help.
These are used to treat muscle spasm pain.
If you have pain, don't ignore it. Talk to your doctor. Pain can be a sign of a more serious problem.
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