Traumatic spinal cord injuries etiology, clinical characteristics and mortality in an international perspective

Injury to the spinal cord, due to traumatic causes, affects persons of all ages, genders, socio-economic backgrounds, ethnicities and demographic locations. The incidence rates and injury characteristics across continents differ greatly, younger men are at greater risk of traumatic spinal cord injury, and the main causes are fluid and context dependent. There is a lack of empirical data for regions such as Asia, Carribean, Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa. This limitation greatly impacts the development and implementation of context-specific primary and secondary prevention programs.

Overall aims

Discourse of acute- and rehabilitation outcomes of persons with traumatic spinal cord injury: A comparison between South Africa and Sweden/ Conran Joseph 

The overall aim of is to determine the epidemiological profile, including the incidence, aetiology and mortality of TSCI between South Africa and Sweden and to explore the experience of survivors living with their injury in South Africa concerning reintegration and life after a spinal cord injury, as well as investigating referral pathways based on the quality assurance measures used.

Traumatic spinal cord injury in different contexts; epidemiology, challenges and attitudes/ Inka Löfvenmark

The main aim is to extend the knowledge of TSCI incidence and epidemiology in Botswana, evaluate a recently established SCI rehabilitation program, and follow up after TSCI. Additionally, the aim is to explore the daily life situation for persons living with a TSCI in Botswana and Sweden, obstacles and challenges in the environment as well as their perception of attitudes from their families and communities. 

Primary investigator


Lena Nilsson-Wikmar

Phone: 08-524 888 48
Organizational unit: Division of Physiotherapy

Project members

PhD student Conran Joseph

PhD student Inka Löfvenmark

Professor Åke Seiger

Associate Professor Marie Hasselberg

Associate Professor Cecilia Norrbrink

Associate Professor Claes Hultling

Associate Professor Julie Phillips

PhD Kerstin Wahman

Financial support

Erasmus Mundus



Selected publications

Olsson C, Nilsson-Wikmar L. Health related quality of life and physical ability among pregnant women with and without back pain in late pregnancy. Acta Obstetrica Gynecology Scandinavica 2004;83:351-7.

Nilsson-Wikmar L, Holm K, Öijerstedt R, Harms-Ringdahl K. Effect of three different physical therapy treatments on pain and activity in pregnant women with pelvic girdle pain: A randomized clinical trial with 3, 6 and 12 months’ follow-up post-partum. Spine. 2005;30:850-6.

Rasmussen-Barr E, Lundqvist L, Nilsson-Wikmar L, Ljungquist T. Aerobic fitness in patients at work despite recurrent low back pain: a cross-sectional study with healthy age- and gender-matched controls. Journal Rehabilitation Medicine 2008;40:359-65.

Olsson C, Buer N, Holm K, Nilsson-Wikmar L. Lumbopelvic pain associated with catastrophizing and fear-avoidence beliefs in early pregnancy. Acta Obstetrica Gynecology Scandinavica 2009;88:378-85.

Rasmussen-Barr E, Äng B, Arvidsson I, Nilsson-Wikmar L. Graded exercise for recurrent low-back pain. A randomized controlled trial with 6-, 12- and 36 months follow-ups. Spine 2009;34:221-8.

Mosallanezhad Z, Salavati M, Hellström K, Reza Sotoudeh G, Nilsson Wikmar L, Frändin K. Cross-cultural adaptation, reliability and validity of the Persian version of the modified falls efficacy scale. Disability and Rehabilitation. 2011;33:2446-8.

Olsson C, Grooten WJA, Nilsson-Wikmar L, Harms-Ringdahl K, Lundberg M.  Catastrophizing during and after pregnancy – associations with lumbopelvic pain and postpartum physical ability. Physical Therapy 2012;92:49-57.

Mosallanezhad Z, Hörder H, Salavati M, Nilsson Wikmar L, Frändin K. Physical activity and physical functioning in Swedish and Iranian 75-year-olds – A comparison. Archives of Gerontology and  Geriatrics 2012;55:422 -30.

Mosallanezhad Z, Salavati M, Reza Sotoudeh G, Nilsson Wikmar L, Frändin K. Walking Habits and Health-Related Factors in 75-year-old Iranian Women and Men. Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics 2014 May-Jun;58(3):320-6. doi: 10.1016/j.archger.2013.11.008. Epub 2013 Dec 1.

Kallio K, Nilsson-Wikmar L, Thorsén A-M. Modified Constraint-Induced Therapy for the Lower Extremity in Elderly Persons with Chronic Stroke: Single-Subject Experimental Design Study. Topics in Stroke Rehabilitation 2014; 21(2):111-9.

Löfvenmark I, Norrbrink C, Nilsson-Wikmar L, Hultling C, Chakandinakira S, Hasselberg M. Traumatic spinal cord injury in Botswana; characteristics, aetiology and mortality. Accepted for publication in Spinal Cord