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Experienced pain after stroke: a cross-sectional 5-year follow-up study

Journal article
Authors Emma Westerlind
Ramanjit Singh
Hanna C Persson
Katharina Stibrant Sunnerhagen
Published in BMC Neurology
Volume 20
Issue 1
ISSN 1471-2377
Publication year 2020
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Clinical Neuroscience
Language en
Keywords Stroke, Pain, Quality of life, Follow-up, long-term pain, depressive symptoms, global burden, risk-factors, prevalence, impact, adults, scale, life, care, Neurosciences & Neurology
Subject categories Neurosciences


Background Stroke is one of the most common cause of disability worldwide. Pain is common in both stroke survivors and in the general population. Consequences of post-stroke pain (PSP) include reduced quality of life and are important to consider. The aim of the current study was to explore the experience of pain 5 years after stroke, and factors associated with the experience of pain. Methods Inclusion criteria were: First ever stroke, treated at Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Sweden, during an 18 months period in 2009-2010, aged 18 years or older. Furthermore, the participants had to respond to a set of questionnaires 5 years post-stroke. Baseline data were collected from medical records and follow-up data from the set of questionnaires. The primary outcome was based on the question Do you experience pain? Predictors and explanatory factors for experiencing more frequent pain were analysed with logistic regression. Results A total of 281 participants were included. Almost 40% experienced pain to some degree 5 years post-stroke (15% reported pain frequently), and 25% felt that their needs for pain treatment were not met. The participants experiencing more frequent pain reported poorer quality of life, self-perceived health status and recovery post-stroke. Functional dependency at discharge from hospital, experiencing depression at follow up and restricted mobility at follow up were all associated with more frequent pain. Conclusion Pain is common 5 years post-stroke and the treatment is not perceived as optimal. The persons experiencing more frequent pain seem to rate their health and recovery worse than the persons experiencing less frequent pain. Most of the factors associated with more frequent pain were treatable and this emphasize the importance of standardised follow-up care that takes pain into consideration.

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