Spinal cord injury may induce neuropathic pain

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Spinal cord injury may induce neuropathic pain

Chronic pain is a common secondary complication of neuropathic pain (NP) recognized as one of the most distressing and debilitating conditions. Which often leads to depression,  sleep disturbances and poor quality of life following spinal cord injury (SCI). The neuropathic pain presenting at or below the level of injury is mostly refractory to current pharmacological and physical treatments.

Burke D, et al., conducted a systematic review to explain the existence of NP post SCI. The review was divided into three phases: 1) a methodological assessment of databases [PubMed, Embase, Web of Knowledge, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), 2) Cochrane Library and 3) Physiotherapy Evidence Database (PEDro)]. These phases identified potential papers and screened for inclusion criteria by two independent reviewers, data extraction and finally rating of internal validity and strength of the evidence, with the help of a published valid and reliable scale.

The meta-analysis evaluated pooled point prevalence rates using a random effect model. In this review,  17 studies involving 2529 patients were inculcated. The overall point prevalence rates for NP were established at 53% (38.58-67.47); 19% (13.26-26.39) for at-level NP and 27% (19.89-34.61) for below-level NP, with high heterogeneity recorded (I2= 84-93%). The prevalence rate for NP following SCI was also elevated.

As for the future studies, the established definitions, classification systems, and assessment tools for NP at defined time points post SCI were included in following the trajectory of this problem across the lifespan. The indices of sleep, mood and interference were also included to permit for appropriate, optimal and timely NP management for each patient.

To summarize, this was the first systematic review and meta-analysis to record pooled point prevalence of neuropathic pain post spinal cord injury at 53%. Additional pooled analysis revealed that neuropathic pain is more common below the level of lesion, in patients with tetraplegia, older patients and at 1 year post injury.


Eur J Pain. 2017 Jan

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The original title of the article:

Neuropathic pain prevalence following spinal cord injury: A systematic review and meta-analysis


Burke D et al.

Exploratory, Neuropathic pain (NP), Nerves, Spinal cord injury (SCI), Systematic Review and Meta-analysis
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