Maladaptive reorganization following SCI: The role of body representation and multisensory integration

Roberta Vastano, Marcello Costantini, Eva Widerstrom-Noga

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


In this review we focus on maladaptive brain reorganization after spinal cord injury (SCI), including the development of neuropathic pain, and its relationship with impairments in body representation and multisensory integration. We will discuss the implications of altered sensorimotor interactions after SCI with and without neuropathic pain and possible deficits in multisensory integration and body representation. Within this framework we will examine published research findings focused on the use of bodily illusions to manipulate multisensory body representation to induce analgesic effects in heterogeneous chronic pain populations and in SCI-related neuropathic pain. We propose that the development and intensification of neuropathic pain after SCI is partly dependent on brain reorganization associated with dysfunctional multisensory integration processes and distorted body representation. We conclude this review by suggesting future research avenues that may lead to a better understanding of the complex mechanisms underlying the sense of the body after SCI, with a focus on cortical changes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102179
JournalProgress in Neurobiology
StateAccepted/In press - 2021


  • Bodily illusions
  • Body representation
  • Multisensory integration
  • Neuropathic pain
  • Spinal cord injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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