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Pain in patients with spinal cord injury

Finnerup, Nanna Brix*

doi: 10.1016/j.pain.2012.12.007

Summary This review updates the diagnosis, classification, mechanisms, and treatment of spinal cord injury pain.

ABSTRACT Individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI) often have chronic pain, which may have a major impact on their quality of life. The purpose of this article is to present an update on the classification of SCI pain, recent advances in the understanding of underlying mechanisms, and current evidence-based treatment of SCI pain. The paper also discusses difficulties in assessing pain after SCI, both in the clinic and in preclinical research. While we continue to increase our understanding of underlying mechanisms, treatment is still unsatisfactory, and there is an unmet need to improve pain relief. We need to improve preclinical assessment of pain-like behavior in central pain models, and improve the clinical assessment of pain and our understanding of the interaction with cognitive, emotional, and social factors. In future studies on mechanisms and treatment, we need to acknowledge the different phenotypes of chronic SCI pain.

Danish Pain Research Center, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark

* Address: Danish Pain Research Center, Aarhus University, Aarhus University Hospital, Norrebrogade 44, Building 1A, DK-8000 Aarhus C, Denmark. Tel.: +45 7846 3455; fax: +45 7846 3269.


Article history:

Received 19 July 2012

Accepted 11 December 2012

Sponsorships or competing interests that may be relevant to content are disclosed at the end of this article.

© 2013 International Association for the Study of Pain
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