Sensory Symptom Profiles of Patients With Neuropathic Pain After Spinal Cord Injury

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Abstract

Aim:

Individuals experiencing neuropathic pain (NP) after spinal cord injury (SCI) present with a variety of pain descriptors in different combinations and at different intensities. These sensory features form distinct patterns, known as sensory symptom profiles.

Methods:

In the present cross-sectional study, we have used a multivariate statistical method (multiple correspondence analysis) to categorize the sensory symptom profiles of a cohort of 338 patients with at-level or below-level NP after SCI. We also investigated possible associations between positive neuropathic symptoms and features of the neurological lesion.

Results:

The majority of participants had a combination of pain descriptors, with 59% presenting with 3 or 4 pain subtypes. No significant associations were found between specific pain profiles and etiology or clinical degree of the neurological lesion. Furthermore, similar symptom profiles were seen in patients with at-level and below-level NP. The most frequent pattern observed in patients with cervical SCI consisted predominantly of electric shocks and tingling, without burning, pressure pain, or allodynia.

Conclusions:

Classification of SCI-NP patients into the 5 groups identified in the present study based on their distinct sensory symptom profiles may allow identification of those most likely to respond to a specific analgesic approach.

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