Skip to content
Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter July 1, 2012

Pain following stroke: A prospective study

  • Anne P. Hansen , Ninna S. Marcussen , Henriette Klit , Helge Kasch , Troels S. Jensen and Nanna B. Finnerup



Pain following stroke is common and affects the quality of life in stroke survivors. The most common types of pain following stroke are headache, shoulder pain, other joint pain and central post-stroke pain (CPSP). The objectives of this study were to determine the prevalence of pain at stroke onset and 6 months after stroke and classify the different pain types.


All consecutively eligible patients admitted to the Stroke Unit at Aarhus University Hospital from February 1 to October 1, 2007 and from February 1 to August 1, 2008 were included. An interview on pain prior to and at stroke onset was conducted at admission followed by interviews on current pain by phone 3 and 6 months after the stroke.


A total of 300 patients were included in the study, and 275 of them completed the 6-month follow-up. The mean age of the 275 patients was 65.9 years old and 55.2% was male. Pain prior to stroke was reported by 49.1% of patients at stroke onset and newly developed pain defined as pain not experienced prior to stroke was reported by 37.8% at stroke onset, 41.8% at the 3-month follow-up and 45.8% at the six month follow-up. The impact on daily life was moderate to severe in 36.4% and 33.6% of the patients with newly developed pain at the 3- and 6-month follow-up, respectively. More than one type of newly developed pain was experienced by 32.2% and 36.5% at the 3- and 6-month follow-up. Headache was reported by 33.5% at stroke onset and newly developed headache by 15.3% at 3-month follow-up and 13.1% at 6-month follow-up. Shoulder pain was reported by 1.5%, 13.1% and 16.4% at stroke onset, and the 3-and 6-month follow-up, respectively. Other joint pain was reported by 7.4% at 3-month and 11.7% at 6-month follow-up. Evoked pain was experienced by 3.6% at stroke onset and by 5.5% and 9.1% at the follow-up interviews.

Other types of pain were also reported; 7.3% at stroke onset, 18.9% at 3-month follow-up and 20.0% at 6-month follow-up. Possible CPSP was identified in 10.5% of patients from the different pain groups.


Pain following stroke is common and may have a considerable effect on the everyday life of the patient.

Published Online: 2012-07-01
Published in Print: 2012-07-01

© 2012 Scandinavian Association for the Study of Pain

Downloaded on 23.3.2023 from
Scroll Up Arrow