This is a part of the Hot Topic podcast series from the Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center on Managing Pain After Spinal Cord Injury. Elizabeth Felix, PhD, discusses The Impact of Pain.

When you’re evaluating a painful condition or chronic pain condition in a person you don’t want to just look at how bad is the pain or where is it located? You need to look at things like the quality of the pain, how they describe the pain. This tells you a little bit about what kind of pain it might be and how best to treat it. But the other things that you want to be concerned with are how the pain impacts their life. So, a very intense pain in one person may be treated differently from another intense pain in another person. And because that first person they may be able to ignore it, or cope with it in very appropriate ways. And they are able to get around in their life. But the other person who has the same intensity of pain may not be able to cope with it as well. Or may have other factors in their life, social support issues, other things that are impacting this, depression is common also with chronic pain. So in that condition that person might have the same intensity of pain, but it impacts their life to a much greater degree than in the first person.

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