Managing Pain after Spinal Cord Injury
Spinal cord injury (SCI) pain management can be a very difficult process. Oftentimes, it is difficult to pinpoint the source of the pain. You should meet with a trustworthy physician to discuss an effective pain management program that addresses your lifestyle and caters to your specific needs.
To ensure that your pain management program is successful, you need to:
- Be patient, flexible, and cooperative;
- Make all of your medical appointments and follow your physician’s instructions closely; and
- Take an active role in treatment by asking questions, exploring all available options, and monitoring your own progress.
Depending on the nature and severity of your injury, modified activities may be integral to your pain management program. Below are the general guidelines on how to pace your activities in order to avoid and alleviate pain:
- Make a list of all of the activities that result in an increase in your pain or fatigue.
- Keep track of the time it takes to experience an increase in your pain or fatigue for each activity.
- When performing each activity, set a time limit that is well below the time you recorded in step 2. When you reach that time, stop and rest.
- Get enough rest before continuing the activity as outlined in steps 2 and 3. The time that you spend resting will vary.
- Do not rush. Your goal is to slowly increase your endurance. Also, never skip a rest period. Placing undue stress on your body may actually aggravate your pain.
If modifying your activities does not improve your pain, you may need medication such as opiates or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Consult with your physician to learn more.
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