This study was conducted to assess the efficacy of an interdisciplinary pain program adapted for persons with spinal cord injury (SCI) and chronic pain. The prospective cohort study, consisting of 22 individuals with traumatic or nontraumatic SCI and chronic pain lasting at least 6 months, was conducted at a university-affiliated rehabilitation hospital. Subjects participated in an interdisciplinary pain program comprised of biweekly group sessions for 10 consecutive weeks. Sessions incorporated patient education on chronic pain and related pain mechanisms, cognitive behavioral therapy, self-management strategies (eg, energy conservation, ergonomics, goal setting, stress management, anger management, and coping skills), group discussions and activities, and either exercise or guided relaxation at the end of each session. Multidimensional Pain Inventory SCI, Coping Inventory of Stressful Situations, Pain Stages of Change Questionnaire, and Life Satisfaction Questionnaire served as the main outcome measures. Following participation in an interdisciplinary pain program, persons with SCI and chronic neuropathic pain showed increased involvement in learning and maintenance of coping strategies for chronic pain. Participation also led to less pain interference in daily life and a greater sense of control over one’s life.
The study found that participation in an interdisciplinary pain program doesn’t reduce pain severity, but it can help patients suffering from SCI and chronic neuropathic pain cope with pain, lessen interference of pain, and improve their sense of control.