Background: The role of brain imaging in the management of spinal cord injury (SCI)-related pain is still untapped but holds great promise. Objective: To provide a multidisciplinary framework for the use of various imaging techniques in SCI pain research and to describe changes in relevant brain structures implicated in the experience of pain. Method: A review of medical literature associated with acute and chronic pain, chronic SCI-related pain, relevant brain structures involved in the processing of pain, and various imaging techniques was performed using the PubMed database. Results: The present article provides a brief overview of the topic and is organized in the following manner: (1) introduction to chronic pain in SCI; (2) processing of pain; (3) common methods used for imaging of the brain in pain studies; (4) mechanisms of neuropathic pain; (5) role of specific brain areas based on research findings; (6) usefulness of imaging techniques in longitudinal studies and in clinical trials; and (7) conclusion. Conclusion: Brain imaging offers an opportunity to increase our understanding of the brain processes in persons with SCI and chronic pain and potentially generate new targets for therapeutic interventions.
- Brain imaging
- Magnetic resonance spectroscopy
- Spinal cord injury
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology