Spinal Cord/Nerve Injury and Pain

What are Spinal Cord and Nerve Injuries?

Spinal cord and nerve injuries are often a consequence of accident or illness and therefore difficult to predict or prevent. These types of injuries often come with associated pain and complications. The spinal cord/nerve injury and pain (SCNIP) team at HBI is focused on managing chronic pain, accelerating rehabilitation and translating discoveries into treatments.

Individuals living with spinal cord and nerve injury often suffer permanent changes in strength, sensation and other body functions below the site of the injury. Mental and emotional health can often suffer in individuals living with spinal cord and nerve injury conditions.

If you would like to contribute to further research on causes and treatments of spinal cord and nerve injuries, and their associated pain and complications, please visit our donation page.

Research Impact


Study leads to dramatic quality of life improvement for man

Blood pressure instability can lead to many complications in spinal cord injury. HBI and Swiss researchers show that the use of a spinal cord stimulator improves blood pressure management in spinal cord injury. An international clinical trial is being explored.


Sleep and sleepiness 'a huge problem' for people with spinal cord injury

People with spinal cord injury suffer high rates of stroke. Researchers discovered that disturbed breathing during sleep due to spinal cord injury, affects the flow of oxygen to the brain, and may increase the risk of stroke.

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Research may lead to better treatment for peripheral nerve damage

HBI researchers identify specific neurochemicals emitted by immune cells, called macrophages, that help the specialized glial cells, called Schwann cells, to regenerate myelin around nerve fibers.

Quick Facts

Quick facts

Understanding Spine and Nerve Injury


Causes of Injury

Physical trauma is the leading cause of spinal cord and nerve injury, such as car accidents or sports injuries. Other causes include diseases causing tumors or cysts on the spine, as well as some viral or bacterial infections. Sometimes congenital disorders are also a cause, such as spina bifida.


There is No Cure

There have been many advancements to maximize neuroprotection, rehabilitation, and development of assistive devices, but there is no cure for spinal cord and nerve injury. Studies are underway exploring exoskeletons and spine stimulation to mitigate spinal cord injury and pain.


Symptoms and Implications

Many people think of injuries only in terms of paralysis. Additional challenges in spinal cord injury include altered sensation to heat or cold, and touch, loss of bowel or bladder control, difficulty breathing, and problems with blood pressure management.

Research Highlights