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SeePain – New Resource for Individuals with SCI and Pain

United Spinal Association of Northeast Ohio > BLOG > Connections Newsletter Article > SeePain – New Resource for Individuals with SCI and Pain

by Kim Anderson, PhD

What is SeePain?

Chronic pain is something that, unfortunately, many people with SCI live with.  In fact, up to 80% of people with SCI develop some kind of pain within the first year of injury.  Chronic pain is pain that lasts for at least three months, and oftentimes it lasts for years.  The two most common types of pain are musculoskeletal and neuropathic.  An example of musculoskeletal pain is pain that develops in the shoulder muscles or joints after overuse from pushing a wheelchair daily.  An example of neuropathic pain involves burning, tingling, and/or stabbing sensations that occur at or below the level of spinal injury.

The SeePain Resource was developed because people living with SCI said they wanted more information about pain to understand it better, to learn more about how to manage pain, and to be able to talk with their healthcare providers who may not have expertise in SCI.  The SeePain is based on published pain literature and many interviews with people living with SCI and chronic pain, their significant others, and healthcare providers with SCI expertise.  The name SeePain was chosen because pain cannot be seen by others, and many people with SCI have been told that they cannot have pain.  The long-term goal of SeePain is to empower people living with SCI and pain to make their pain manageable and reduce its negative impact on their quality of life.

Contents of Module 1

The SeePain is made up of two educational modules, kind of like book chapters.  Each module contains a lot of information.  Don’t worry, you don’t have to read all of it!  People can choose the information that they are most interested in and skip over other topics if desired.  Module 1 covers the following topics:

  • What is pain?
  • Pain after SCI
  • SCI classification
  • Types of pain after SCI
  • Real-cases of pain
  • Chronic nature of pain after SCI
  • Impact of pain

Contents of Module 2

Module 2 is all about what people can do to manage pain, and this includes many options besides just medication.  Information is included about the pros and cons of different options, noting that there is not one single option that works for everyone – everyone should try multiple options to figure out what combinations work for them.  Module 2 covers the following topics: 

  • Ways to manage your pain
  • Avoiding triggers
  • Evidence-based treatments
  • Non-pharmacological approaches
  • Commonly recommended pharmacologic treatments
  • Cannabinoids
  • Thoughts about opioid medications
  • Thoughts about pain medications
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Significant others/family/caregivers
  • Final message/resources/wordlist with definitions

How do you access SeePain?

The SeePain is free and available to everyone.  You can scan the QR codes in the picture to download both modules to your phone, tablet, or computer.  You can also watch a video webinar that the North American SCI Consortium hosted in September of 2023 with the developer of the SeePain, Dr. Eva Widerström-Noga.  She led the research team at The Miami Project that developed the SeePain, and NORSCIS Director, Dr. Kim Anderson, was a co-leader of that team.
You can also read and download the research article describing how SeePain was developed by going to this website:

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