Patients with a spinal cord injury suffer with their neck and back pain as one of their limitations in daily life. This kind of pain diminishes their quality of life and in many cases prevents them from leading an enjoyable social active life or being active in the labour market.
The results of a research study carried out by Red Española de Investigadores en Dolencias de la Espalda or REIDE (Spanish Network of Researchers on Back Ailments) with 750 patients showed that 76% of the patients with a spinal cord injury suffer from backbone pain; 56% of them suffer from neck pain, 54% from pain in the thoracic spine and 45% in the lumbar spine. In this research study was also mentioned that suffering from backbone pain is related to a poorer quality of life. That is why preventive measures are so important to be developed.
This research study proves that there are related factors to a higher risk of suffering from backbone pain such as living alone or using a manual wheelchair.
When it comes to neck pain, one of the possible causes is having a spinal injury in the cervical area or using a thinner cushion than it is recommended for the wheelchair use. Regarding pain in the thoracic spine, its origin can be related to a thoracic spine injury or having a higher sagittal index. In the lumbar spine the pain may occur after an injury in the thoracic spine or when having any post-injury sensitivity. Only three of these pain-related factors may be modified or could be very useful in preventing or improving the pain. Here are examples of changeable factors such as cushion thickness for the wheelchair; the use of an electric wheelchair instead of a manually-operated one and the recovery of the sagittal index at the nearest to its normal shape when performing surgical intervention in the spinal fractures that caused the thoracic spine injury.
The results of this research study are highly significant because they point to a future path for proving their effectiveness.
The National Paraplegic Hospital and some workers of the Biomedical Institute of the University of Leon among others have participated in this research study. All of them were coordinated by the Spanish Network of Researchers on Back Ailments.
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