Psychological morbidity following spinal cord injury and among those without spinal cord injury: the impact of chronic centralized and neuropathic pain | Spinal Cord (

This was a recent study carried out by researchers in Michigan, USA, looking at mental health and chronic pain issues in people with spinal cord injury.

Adults living with spinal cord injuries were found to have near-80% increased risk of developing psychological conditions, such as depression and anxiety, compared to people without the traumatic injury, a new study shows. It highlighted too that  chronic pain may have an equally large, negative effect on mental health.

In this study, chronic centralised and neuropathic pain among adults living with a spinal cord injury were found to be robustly associated with post-traumatic stress disorder, substance use disorders and other mental health conditions. In most cases, chronic pain was an even greater influence on these conditions than exposure to living with the injury itself.

Researchers say the findings should prompt physicians to identify mental health conditions when seeing patients with spinal cord injuries and refer them to mental health providers for treatment.

“Improved clinical efforts are needed to facilitate screening of, and early treatment for, both chronic pain and psychological health in this higher-risk population,” said one of the lead investigators.

It is increasingly recognised that over and above the disability that comes with spinal cord injury, it is the associated chronic pain which many sufferers find so difficult to live with.

We believe that through a program of acceptance should form part of the multidisciplinary approach to help spinal cord injury sufferers move forward.