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Papers of the Week

Papers: 15 Jul 2023 - 21 Jul 2023

Clinical, Methodology

Human Studies, Neurobiology

Musculoskeletal Pain

2023 Jul 05

Int J Mol Sci




Assessing the Feasibility of a Multimodal Approach to Pain Evaluation in Early Stages after Spinal Cord Injury.


Capossela S, Landmann G, Ernst M, Stockinger L, Stoyanov J


This research evaluates the feasibility of a multimodal pain assessment protocol during rehabilitation following spinal cord injury (SCI). The protocol amalgamates clinical workup (CW), quantitative sensory testing (QST), and psychosocial factors (PSF) administered at 4 (T1), 12 (T2), and 24 (T3) weeks post injury and at discharge (T4). Molecular blood biomarkers (BB) were evaluated via gene expression and proteomic assays at T1 and T4. Different pain trajectories and temporal changes were identified using QST, with inflammation and pain-related biomarkers recorded. Higher concentrations of osteopontin and cystatin-C were found in SCI patients compared to healthy controls, indicating their potential as biomarkers. We observed altered inflammatory responses and a slight increase in ICAM-1 and CCL3 were noted, pointing towards changes in cellular adhesion linked with spinal injury and a possible connection with neuropathic pain. Despite a small patient sample hindering the correlation of feasibility data, descriptive statistical analyses were conducted on stress, depression, anxiety, quality of life, and pain interferences. The SCI Pain Instrument (SCIPI) was efficient in distinguishing between nociceptive and neuropathic pain, showing a progressive increase in severity over time. The findings emphasize the need for the careful consideration of recruitment setting and protocol adjustments to enhance the feasibility of multimodal pain evaluation studies post SCI. They also shed light on potential early adaptive mechanisms in SCI pathophysiology, warranting the further exploration of prognostic and preventive strategies for chronic pain in the SCI population.