Effects of Spinal Cord Injury Exercise Guidelines

Effects of Spinal Cord Injury Exercise Guidelines

Over 85,000 Canadians live with a spinal cord injury (SCI). The vast majority experience chronic pain from neuropathic or musculoskeletal origins, with many reporting the pain to be more physically, psychologically and socially debilitating than the injury itself. Currently, pharmaceuticals are the front line treatment recommendation for SCI pain, despite having many side-effects and giving minimal relief. Alternatively, studies conducted in controlled lab and clinical settings suggest that exercise may be a safe, effective behavioural strategy for reducing SCI-related chronic pain. Two ways in which exercise may alleviate pain are by reducing inflammation and increasing descending inhibitory control. To date, no study has tested the effects of exercise, performed in a home-/community-setting, on chronic pain in adults with SCI. Furthermore, information on the exercise dose required to alleviate chronic SCI pain is virtually non-existent, making it impossible for clinicians and fitness trainers to make evidence- informed recommendations regarding the types and amounts of exercise to perform in order to manage SCI pain. Recently (2018), an international team published two scientific SCI exercise guidelines: one to improve fitness and one to improve cardiometabolic health. These scientific guidelines have been translated into Canadian community SCI exercise guidelines and provide the exercise prescription for the proposed study. The investigators' overarching research question is: can home-/community-based exercisea?"prescribed according to these new SCI exercise guidelines and supported through a theory-based behavioural interventiona?" significantly reduce chronic pain in adults with SCI?

No pharmaceutical medication involved
Patients and healthy individuals accepted


Spinal Cord Injury Exercise Guidelines: Participants will begin at the Starting Level which is 20 mins of moderate to vigorous aerobic activity 2x/week & 3 sets of 10 repeats of strength training 2x/week. They will progress to Advanced Level which is 30 mins of moderate to vigorous aerobic activity 3x/week and 3 sets of 10 repetitions of strength training 2x/week. The intervention duration is 6 months.


Wait-list control

Effects of the Spinal Cord Injury Exercise Guidelines on Pain: A Randomized Controlled Trial