Assessing pain management while living with paralysis

Posted by Reeve Staff in Daily Dose on May 03, 2019 # Health

Pain is a frequent problem for a good portion of individuals living with paralysis and can interfere significantly with daily life. There are many types of pain associated with spinal cord injury (SCI) with varying frequency, duration, severity and location, including areas where there is little to no feeling.

Pain after an SCI is likely to be caused by either related nerve damage from the injury or musculoskeletal problems that arise from living with an SCI. By identifying and targeting the mechanism for the pain with treatment options, pain can be managed and reduced enough to improve quality of life.

We have created a new resource that shares techniques on how to treat and manage pain in an information booklet. The booklet covers in-depth four main types of pain:

  • Neuropathic pain
  • Musculoskeletal pain
  • Referred or visceral pain
  • Psychological or emotional pain

To choose the best treatment for pain, it is important to understand the type of pain you are experiencing. For many, a holistic approach that includes a combination of exercise, medication, stress reduction, or alternative treatments can help relieve the pain.

The booklet covers various treatment options, such as:

  • Physical therapy
  • Medication
  • Transcranial stimulation
  • Surgical interventions
  • Alternative options
  • Psychological help

Health and lifestyle habits can have a big impact on pain, so the booklet also provides pain prevention tips and self-care techniques that can prevent pain from worsening.

It is important to see a doctor who has experience working with SCI patients to ensure the correct diagnosis and care. The booklet provides a list of tips on how to speak with your doctor about pain.

With new discoveries in pain management being made every day, there is a lot of hope for additional treatment options in the future. To get a copy of our Pain Management booklet, call our Information Specialist team at 800-539-7309 or go to

You can also check out our Pain discussion group in Reeve Connect where you can ask questions and talk with others with similar experiences.

The National Paralysis Resource Center website is supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $8,700,000 with 100 percent funding by ACL/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by ACL/HHS, or the U.S. Government.