Outcomes and reflections on a consensus-building workshop for developing a spinal cord injury-related chronic pain research agenda
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Context/ Objective: Chronic pain following spinal cord injury (SCI) is a prevalent secondary health condition that significantly impacts quality of life (QoL). Although growing, the number of available effective pain management approaches for SCI is limited. Recognizing the need to "kick-start" activity on this topic, a consensus-building workshop on developing a research agenda for SCI-related chronic pain was held in 2006 with an expert panel. The present paper describes the processes of the consensus-workshop and its associated outcomes towards advancing the research agenda for SCI-related pain in Canada. A commentary on the current state of knowledge regarding SCI-related pain is also provided. METHODS: Thirty-nine stakeholders (researchers, clinicians, policy-makers, SCI advocates, and people with SCI) attended the consensus-workshop. A modified Delphi approach was employed to gain consensus on identifying the top five SCI pain research priorities for improving QoL post-SCI. As well, project planning along with infrastructure support opportunities were discussed. RESULTS: The top five pain research priorities were: 1) pain management and treatment; 2) measurement tools; 3) health services policy and advocacy; 4) knowledge transfer; and 5) mechanisms of pain. Recommendations related to the priorities and related resources were generated, and pilot work was initiated. CONCLUSIONS: The consensus workshop provided an initial roadmap for research on SCI-related chronic pain, and supported five pilot projects on the identified priorities. Reflections on the current research landscape in Canada and abroad suggest increased activity towards addressing pain post-SCI but evidence-based approaches are still lacking.
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