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Volume 45 Number 6, 2008
   Pages 793  — 800

Abstract - Pain among veterans with spinal cord injury

Philip M. Ullrich, PhD;1-2* Mark P. Jensen, PhD;2 John D. Loeser, MD;3 Diana D. Cardenas, MD, MHA;4 Frances M. Weaver, PhD5

1Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Spinal Cord Injury Quality Enhancement Research Initiative (SCI QUERI), VA Puget Sound Healthcare System, Seattle, WA; Departments of 2Rehabilitation Medicine and 3Neurological Surgery, University of Washington, Seattle, WA; 4Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL; 5VA SCI QUERI, Edward Hines Jr VA Hospital, Hines, IL

Abstract — The Department of Veterans Affairs Veterans Health Administration cares for approximately 15% of persons with spinal cord injury (SCI) in the United States. However, the nature and characteristics of pain among veterans with SCI are not well understood. This study used a postal survey to compare veterans with SCI and nonveterans with SCI on pain intensity; pain interference; functioning; and other pain, demographic, and medical characteristics. Veterans tended to be older than nonveterans but these groups were otherwise comparable on demographic and medical variables. Veterans were not significantly different from nonveterans on pain intensity or pain interference. Veterans reported lower levels of functioning than nonveterans and higher levels of pain-related catastrophizing. However, differences in functioning between veterans and nonveterans were attributable to age differences between the groups. In summary, differences between veterans with SCI and nonveterans with SCI were few and small in magnitude, suggesting that veterans with SCI are not at greater risk for pain and pain-related problems. However, pain-related catastrophizing may be a particular concern among veterans with SCI.

Key words: age, catastrophizing, chronic pain, functioning,pain, pain intensity, pain interference, rehabilitation, spinalcord injury, veterans.

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