2. Understanding causes and solutions of SCI Pain: SPINAL PAIN
Research Team: (PI) Dr John Riddell, Dr Joziem Goense, Dr Guillaume Rousselet, Dr Aleksandra Vuckovic, Prof Bernard Conway, Dr Margaret Purcell, Mr Matthew Fraser, PhD Student Alison Symon
Locations: University of Glasgow, Queen Elizabeth University Teaching Hospital Glasgow
Duration/Dates/Cost: 42 months/ October 2017 – March 2021. Total project costs: £153,636
ABSTRACT OF RESEARCH
Approximately half of the 40,000 people living with Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) in the UK, and
4,000 in Scotland experience a particularly nasty form of pain triggered by damage to the
nervous system. Known as NEUROPATHIC PAIN, it may be spontaneous, often becomes
persistent and can be an overriding preoccupation on top of physical disability. While
difficult for the able bodied to grasp, some SCI patients have described it as being ‘akin to
incessant, severe and debilitating toothache’. Medications may help in some cases but are
frequently ineffective and often have unpleasant side effects. However, the main reason
why therapies for controlling this pain are inadequate, is because we do not yet fully
understand the processes that generate such pain. This presents us with our next challenge.
Our research will explore some of the mechanisms by which this pain is
generated, ways in which its development can be predicted and ways in which it can be reliably measured.
A successful outcome will mean we have a better understanding of why this type of pain occurs, who is at
risk of developing such pain, what targets and approaches we can use to prevent it, and the tools
necessary for measuring objectively how successful these approaches are. These advances will leave us
better placed to develop the more effective forms of pain control that are so badly needed by those who
live with SCI.