Pain — whether related to spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, amputation, neuromuscular disease, post-polio sequelae, traumatic brain injury, cerebral palsy or other conditions — is the jealous mistress of disability, and it can be brutal. Three of four with SCI report it, about the same as amputees and phantom limb pain. More than half of those with TBI live with pain, and nearly as many with MS. With a neurological condition, chances are you have pain, either neuropathic (from damaged nerves sending faulty signals) or musculoskeletal/nociceptive pain (from overuse or other trauma). Wheelers report living with more pain than the general population, and once it shows up, it rarely decreases.
Pain is associated with poorer psychological functioning and social integration, and it often interferes with a large number of basic daily activities, including sleep, mobility, self-care, social activities and mood. Relief with minimal side effects is the sought-after goal, be it through drugs, exercise or surgery. But what works for Jane may not work for Jack. It may wor