Spinal Cord Injury

Spinal Cord Injury Research

The research program within spinal cord injury (SCI) at the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation has developed a general focus on evidence based reviews (through SCIRE), knowledge translation and pain management. Dr. Eldon Loh recently received a Mentorship grant of $120 000 from the Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation/Rick Hansen Institute to build capacity in the area of pain management following SCI. Scoping reviews in a number of aspects of pain after SCI, including epidemiology, classification, pathophysiology, and management are currently underway. Surveys examining current practice in Canada and its relation to best evidence are also being developed. The goal of this program is to establish the best evidence foundation that will inform the ultimate development of best practice guidelines to improve pain management in SCI. Other department activities include a recently completed initiative led by Dr. Keith Sequeira demonstrating the positive benefits of FES cycling. Based on Dr. Sequeira’s work, and the FES cycling program has been implemented into clinical practice at the Parkwood Fitness Centre.

The research program within PM&R is associated with the SCI Research Group led by Dr. Dalton Wolfe and Ms. Jane Hsieh of the Lawson Health Research Institute (Aging, Rehabilitation and Geriatric Care). The primary general interests of this group include knowledge mobilization with a focus on enabling technologies, exercise / physical activity, self-management and the prevention and management of secondary complications. Current SCI Research Group projects include investigations of the feasibility of internet-based, in-home fitness classes and an inter-disciplinary pressure ulcer clinic, as well as an evaluation of eLearning modules (www.sci-u.ca) to facilitate self-management in persons with SCI. The Knowledge Mobilization Network, led locally by Dr. Dalton Wolfe and nationally by Jane Hsieh, is currently developing a clinical decision support tool to assist health care providers in the management of pain after SCI. The Knowledge Mobilization Network has also recently developed more systematic approaches to risk assessment and patient education of pressure ulcers. This project is currently in the implementation phase among 6 rehabilitation centres across Canada.


Dr. Eldon Loh is currently collaborating with Dr. David Walton in the Faculty of Health Sciences to develop methods of improving interventional pain management of axial spine pain. Specifically, the role of facet intraarticular cortisone injections will be examined, as well as the relation of myofascial trigger points to primary facetogenic pain. Swati Mehta, a Ph.D. student supervised by Dr. Walton, is assessing factors that predict the success of various interventional procedures, including intraarticular cortisone injection.