Chronic neuropathic pain is a complicated condition after a spinal cord injury (SCI) that often has a lifelong and significant negative impact on life after the injury; therefore, improved pain management is considered a significant and unmet need. Neuropathic pain mechanisms are heterogeneous and the difficulty in determining their individual contribution to specific pain types may contribute to poor treatment outcomes in this population. Thus, identifying human neuropathic pain phenotypes based on pain symptoms, somatosensory changes, or cognitive and psychosocial factors that reflect specific spinal cord or brain mechanisms of neuropathic pain is an important goal. Once a pain phenotype can be reliably replicated, its relationship with biomarkers and clinical treatment outcomes can be analyzed, and thereby facilitate translational research and further the mechanistic understanding of individual differences in the pain experience and in clinical trial outcomes. The present article will discuss clinical aspects of SCI-related neuropathic pain, neuropathic pain phenotypes, pain mechanisms, potential biomarkers and pharmacological interventions, and progress regarding how defining neuropathic pain phenotypes may lead to more targeted treatments for these difficult pain conditions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pharmacology (medical)