Title

Addressing Pain for a Proper Rehabilitation Process in Patients With Severe Disorders of Consciousness

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2-17-2021

Journal

Frontiers in Pharmacology

Volume

12

URL with Digital Object Identifier

10.3389/fphar.2021.628980

Abstract

Consciousness constitutes a fundamental prerequisite in the individual appraisal and experience of pain. In the same way, a person needs to be able to report on pain perception. Patients who suffered a severe brain injury with disorders of consciousness (DOC) represent a spectrum of pathologies affecting patients' capacity to interact with the external world. In these patients, the most relevant aspects in response to pain are physiologic and behavioral. The treatments and management of pain are challenging issues in these patients, arising serious ethical concerns and bringing emotional load among medical staff, caregivers, and relatives. In this review, we report the importance of having a correct pain management in DOC patients, to individuate the best pharmacological treatment that can make the difference in detecting a behavioral response, indicative of a change in the level of consciousness, and in planning a more effective rehabilitative approach.

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