Management of chronic central neuropathic pain following traumatic spinal cord injury

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
Record ID 32002000418
Authors' objectives:

To evaluate (a) the measurement of central neuropathic pain (CNP) after traumatic spinal cord injury (TSCI), (b) the prevalence of acute and chronic CNP, (c) predictive factors for chronic CNP, and (d) the effectiveness and safety of various interventions for CNP.

Authors' results and conclusions: 132 unique studies (6 randomized controlled trials and 126 observational studies, including 47 case series and at least 56 single or multiple case reports) met the selection criteria. Few studies evaluated the management of CNP following TSCI in women; and no studies evaluated adolescents only, the role of treatment algorithms, or multidisciplinary approaches. Only two studies evaluated self-management strategies in cases of CNP following TSCI. Diagnosis, assessment and natural history: No discriminative or evaluative measurement instruments have been adequately investigated with respect to psychometric measurement properties in this setting. Pharmacological interventions: Little research has been done. The few studies available have such poor methods that it was not possible to evaluate interventions. It appears that local anesthetics, opioids, and clonidine given spinally may be effective in relieving CNP following TSCI, but better research is needed. Spinal cord and deep brain stimulation techniques: The studies had similar deficiencies to those described above. The limited evidence available suggests that spinal cord stimulation has a variable rate of early success and a low rate of long-term effectiveness. Deep brain stimulation has a low rate of early success and an even lower long-term success rate, coupled with significant adverse events. Dorsal root entry zone (DREZ) lesions and other surgical interventions: All studies on DREZ showed high rates of success but had poorly defined or no eligibility criteria, included no control groups, and did not report adequately the severity of adverse effects.
Authors' recomendations: This report describes rigorous systematic reviews on the measurement and management of CNP after TSCI in adults and adolescents. The research on this topic is in its infancy. This report describes the limitations of the available evidence and provides recommendations for future research.
Authors' methods: Systematic review
Project Status: Completed
Year Published: 2001
English language abstract: An English language summary is available
Publication Type: Not Assigned
Country: United States
MeSH Terms
  • Pain
  • Spinal Cord Injuries
Organisation Name: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
Contact Address: Center for Outcomes and Evidence Technology Assessment Program, 540 Gaither Road, Rockville, MD 20850, USA. Tel: +1 301 427 1610; Fax: +1 301 427 1639;
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Copyright: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)
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