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Thread: Pain in the legs following complete SCI

  1. #1

    Pain in the legs following complete SCI

    My patient has a complete SCI at L1. However he often complains of severe pain in his legs. Is this the same "phantom pain" experienced by amputees? I think he is using some pain meds which help.

  2. #2
    No, phantom pain is specific to amputees. What he is experiencing is called central neuropathic pain. It is not due to injury or disease in his legs...but due to the damage in the spinal cord in the area that receives sensory input from his legs. What pain meds is he taking? Most common are Neurontin and Lyrica, but some do take opioids. TENS may be considered as a modality for treatment, and some have had success with acupuncture. If you are in a state that has legal medical marijuana, that may also be an option that many here have found helpful.


  3. #3
    I don't know what he's taking. I wonder how long this can persist.

  4. #4
    Central neuropathic pain rarely improves or goes away on its own, in fact it often gets worse over the first year, and may continue to get worse as the person ages. He should be working with a good SCI-expert physiatrist on this. Does he have such a physician??


  5. #5
    I don't know the details of his doctors. I am afraid that he may be thinking more in terms of a cure instead of treating symptoms.

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