Latest Approaches for the Treatment of Spasticity and Autonomic Dysreflexia in Chronic Spinal Cord Injury

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76 Scopus citations


Summary: Two of the most prevalent secondary complications following spinal cord injury (SCI), besides loss of function and/or sensation below the level of injury, are uncontrolled muscle spasticity and hypertensive autonomic dysreflexia. Despite the desires of the SCI community, there have been few advances in the treatment and/or management of these fundamental impediments to the quality of life associated with chronic SCI. Therefore, the purpose of this review is to focus on current drug treatment strategies that alleviate symptoms of spasticity and autonomic dysfunction. Subsequently, looking ahead, we discuss whether individuals suffering from autonomic dysreflexia and/or muscle spasms can take certain compounds that specifically and rapidly block the neurotransmission of pain into the injured spinal cord to get rapid relief for both aberrant reflexes for which painful stimuli below the level of SCI are common precipitants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)274-282
Number of pages9
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by endowments from the Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Center (AGR) and the McDougal Professorship in Physical Therapy (PHK). Full conflict of interest disclosure is available in the for this article.


  • Spasms
  • bradycardia
  • clinical interventions
  • hypertension
  • pharmacological
  • spinal cord injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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