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Thread: Sci Pain

  1. #1

    Sci Pain

    I am confused as to whether SCI pain really does vary from one person to another? or do some people just know how to deal with it better?. I would think that cns nerve damage always generates pain in everyone, but that some people do not focus on it as much and learn to live with it. I am a t-4 complete post 20 years and have had an immense amount of pain (I believe Neuropathic) burning butt, legs, etc. but it really does not interfere with my life anymore as I find that in excercising and staying busy I don't focus on it and therefore it is not a problem.

    Sometimes I wonder if the pain is noticed more from the depression that SCI brings and therefore magnified. The goal I set for myself years ago was to just forget about the pain and go on with my life. Am I one of the Lucky ones who can do this? or do different transections of cns nerves generate different forms of pain? I suspect the answer to this question is that it has never been proven because there is no way of quantifying another persons pain, especially Neuropathic pain which for years Doctors told people it was all in their heads.

    Anyhow, the way I look at it is I refuse to let SCI destroy the quality of my life and I just go on with things and do what I have to do to be a happy person.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Scorpion's Avatar
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    I've wondered that too, Curtis, as I have always had burning pain in my ass and legs, but I can usually block it out focusing on something else. The thing is, pain is such an individual experience, and while I may be able to block it out, someone else is going to experience it differently than I would. And while I'm an advocate of 'sucking it up' and doing with as few chemicals as possible, I wouldn't tell someone else to 'suck it up' because their pain may be more excrutiating than I can ever imagine. Like Dr. Young once said, this pain isn't in our heads, it's real even if there is no apparent cause--the nerves are sending pain signals to the brain, and if we're lucky, we can deal with them. Yet another aspect of SCI most people will never understand, and hopefully they won't have to worry about it someday.

    ~Rus

  3. #3

    Good Point Russ

    I guess there is still so little known about it. Maybe in certain injuries the nerves are very irritated to the point of creating super immense pain. I guess if I were in that situation I would look into that operation that Larry Flint got done a few years back, it worked for him and he currently has no pain. The question is? could it screw things up for when nerve regeneration was possible? and is the operation a lot to undergo.?

  4. #4
    Senior Member alan's Avatar
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    Pain in one's ass and legs doesn't affect the use of one's arms, nor does it affect breathing and eating. I'm not overly bothered by the pains in my hands and legs, as they don't interfere with activities. Back and abdominal pain does. It's not possible to not focus on those burning parts, as I feel every move and breath.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Scorpion's Avatar
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    Alan, with all due respect, I'd wager there are people with SCI with pain in the their legs and ass that hurts with every breath, every movement of the arms. I'm sure the pain Curtis & I experience is nothing compared to the pain you feel, but it is nonetheless real and something an A/B doesn't have to deal with. We're lucky it's not bad enough that we can't block it out (for the most part). Please don't think I'm comparing my pain to yours, because it would be ludicrous for me to do so, just as it would be for you to assume my pain is a walk in the park. It's so individual, no one can understand how badly the other hurts.

    I always knew SCI came with pain, but until recently, didn't realize how debilitating that pain can be for some people with SCI. We shouldn't get into a battle of woes, because our high quad brothers (and sisters) will win every time.

    ~Rus

  6. #6
    I know lots of SCI ppl w/o pain. The most common thing I hear from ppl in pain is the burning butt sensation. Well, I certainly have that, but it is so far down the list compared to the rest of the pain, I almost want to laugh. Coping skills have nothing to do with it.

    Certainly pain is individual. Every injury is unique and the spinal cord from which the pain originates is incredibly complex.

    BTW Scorpion, when it comes to pain, I doubt quads have it worse. It would all be in the nature of the injury it seems to me, whether the damage is at C6 or T12.

  7. #7
    Interesting, I'm C7 post 22 years and have never experienced neuropathic pain. As Dr. Young said, as long as ones peripheral nerves haven't been damaged then you probably won't experience pain. When something hurts me, the only thing I get is severe AD.

  8. #8
    Originally posted by seneca:

    Interesting, I'm C7 post 22 years and have never experienced neuropathic pain. As Dr. Young said, as long as ones peripheral nerves haven't been damaged then you probably won't experience pain. When something hurts me, the only thing I get is severe AD.
    Wait a minute. Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I understand the pain comes from the CNS, not the peripheral nervous system. Thus the success of the surgeries at Craig on the hyperactive nerve endings in the cord. The peripheral nerves regenerate in my understanding. Peripheral meaning a nerve in your arm vs. your spinal cord.

  9. #9
    Senior Member alan's Avatar
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    Don't get me wrong - I wasn't disparaging how leg and butt pain affects those who suffer from them. I was just speaking from my perspective re which of my pains have the major affect on my life, and why. Obviously, if one feels like a body part is on fire, that will negatively affect them, no matter what part is burning.

  10. #10
    Cass, you are right. Neuropathic pain comes from the CNS. It is different from nociceptive pain which (in latin) means pain sensation (coming from pain fibers in the periphery). Nociceptive pain implies that there is pain input from the periphery, i.e. back pain, musculoskeletal pain, decubiti.

    There is a classification system that is just now being accepted in the field, defining neuropathic pain into several categories: below the injury site, above the injury site.

    There is autonomic pain which is of unclear origin but it is the type that seneca describes, associated with autonomic dysreflexia.

    In addition, there is allodynia which is hypersensitivity to light touch.

    Finally, there are a number of central pain syndromes which occur in people who have intact sensation. Some of these may result from abnormal foci of activities in the brain and brainstem.

    The mechanisms of central pain are still not well understood but at least it is now being recognized as real phenomena and no longer being dismissed as a psychiatric or psychological problem. That recognition is the first step to dealing with the problem. In the old days, when doctors use to send people with central pain to psychiatrists.

    Pain below the injury site is sometimes called deafferentation pain, i.e. pain the results from the removal of sensory inputs. For example, the phantom limb pain associated with amputations or peripheral nerve injuries are deafferentation type pain. Many people with diabetes and Guillian-Barre syndrome have deafferentation pain.

    Central pain is frequently associated with injury to the central nervous system. Thus, many people with multiple sclerosis, brain-brainstem-spinal cord strokes, infections of the spinal cord (tabes dorsalis), arteriovenous malformation, syrinxes, etc. develop central pain.

    Wise.

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