Official data indicates that spinal cord injury (SCI) is second to mental retardation among neurological disorders in terms of cost to society.
Pain is a debilitating consequence of SCI related to the nature of the lesion, neurological structures damaged, and secondary pathophysiological changes of surviving tissues1. Approximately two-thirds of persons who have sustained SCI experience clinically significant pain after injury, of whom one-third have severe pain2, 3. Post-SCI pain can increase with time and is often refractory to conventional treatment approaches4.
Over the past decade, clinical studies have shown that post-SCI pain interferes with rehabilitation, daily activities, and quality of life and may substantially influence mood, leading to depression and even suicide4-7.Chronic neuropathic pain following SCI is divided into three types: at-level pain (pain within the body segments innervated by spinal cord segments at the level of the injury), below-level pain (pain within body segments caudal to the level at which the spinal cord was injured), and above-level pain (pain within body segments rostral to the level at which the spinal cord was injured)8.