Spinal Cord Stimulation for Pain Treatment After Spinal Cord Injury

Qian Huang, Wanru Duan, Eellan Sivanesan, Shuguang Liu, Fei Yang, Zhiyong Chen, Neil C. Ford, Xueming Chen, Yun Guan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


In addition to restoration of bladder, bowel, and motor functions, alleviating the accompanying debilitating pain is equally important for improving the quality of life of patients with spinal cord injury (SCI). Currently, however, the treatment of chronic pain after SCI remains a largely unmet need. Electrical spinal cord stimulation (SCS) has been used to manage a variety of chronic pain conditions that are refractory to pharmacotherapy. Yet, its efficacy, benefit profiles, and mechanisms of action in SCI pain remain elusive, due to limited research, methodological weaknesses in previous clinical studies, and a lack of mechanistic exploration of SCS for SCI pain control. We aim to review recent studies and outline the therapeutic potential of different SCS paradigms for traumatic SCI pain. We begin with an overview of its manifestations, classification, potential underlying etiology, and current challenges for its treatment. The clinical evidence for using SCS in SCI pain is then reviewed. Finally, future perspectives of pre-clinical research and clinical study of SCS for SCI pain treatment are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)527-539
Number of pages13
JournalNeuroscience Bulletin
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 3 2019


  • Analgesia
  • Neuromodulation
  • Pain
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Spinal cord stimulation
  • Trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Physiology


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