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Employment status, hours working, and gainful earnings after spinal cord injury: relationship with pain, prescription medications for pain, and nonprescription opioid use.

Krause JS, Dismuke-Greer CE, Reed KS, Li C. Employment status, hours working, and gainful earnings after spinal cord injury: relationship with pain, prescription medications for pain, and nonprescription opioid use. Spinal Cord. 2020 Mar 1; 58(3):275-283.

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Abstract:

STUDY DESIGN: Cross-sectional self-report assessment. Econometric modeling. OBJECTIVES: Identify the relationship of multiple pain indicators, prescription pain medication, nonprescription opioid use, and multiple indicators of quality employment among those with spinal cord injury (SCI). SETTING: Data were collected at a medical university in the Southeastern United States (US). METHODS: Participants included 4670 adults with traumatic SCI of at least one-year duration who were enrolled in a study of health and longevity. They were identified from three sources including a specialty hospital and two population-based state SCI surveillance systems. Econometric modeling was used for three outcome variables: employment status, hours per week spent working, and earnings. RESULTS: Several pain parameters were significantly related to multiple employment outcomes. Prescription medication to treat pain was associated with lower odds of employment, fewer hours working, and lower conditional earnings. Nonprescription opioid use was only related to fewer hours working. Painful days, number of painful conditions, and pain intensity were all related to employment outcomes, but the pattern varied by outcome. The number of painful conditions was most consistently related to employment. Multiple demographic, injury, and educational factors were related to employment, with better outcomes among those with less severe SCI and greater educational achievements. CONCLUSIONS: The presence of significant pain and use of either prescription pain medications or the use of nonprescription opioids may have a significant adverse effect on both the probability of employment and quality of employment. Rehabilitation and vocational professionals should routinely assess pain and associated medications in vocational and career planning.





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