Background: About 69% of Americans living with spinal cord injury (SCI) suffer from long-term debilitating neuropathic pain, interfering with the quality of daily life. Neuropathic pain is refractory to many available treatments—some carrying a risk for opioid addiction—highlighting an urgent need for new treatments. In this study, we will test our hypothesis that Spring Forest Qigong™ will reduce SCI-related neuropathic pain by improving body awareness. We will determine whether remotely delivered Qigong is feasible and we will collect data on neuropathic pain, and other reported associations with pain such as spasms frequency and/or severity, functional performance, mood, and body awareness. Methods: In this quasi-experimental pilot clinical trial study, adults with SCI will practice Qigong at home with a 45-min video, at least 3 × /week for 12 weeks. The Qigong practice includes movements with guided breathing and is individualized based on functional abilities, i.e., the participants follow along with the Qigong movements to the level of their ability, with guided breathing, and perform kinesthetic imagery by focusing on the feeling in the whole body as if doing the whole-body Qigong movement while standing. The highest, average, and lowest neuropathic pain ratings perceived in the prior week will be recorded weekly until the 6-week follow-up. The other outcomes will be collected at 5 time points: at baseline, midway during the Qigong intervention (6 weeks), after the Qigong intervention (12 weeks), after a 6-week and 1-year follow-up. Rate parameters for the feasibility markers will be estimated based on the participants who achieved each benchmark. Discussion: The University of Minnesota (UMN)’s Institutional Review Board (IRB) approved the study (IRB #STUDY00011997). All participants will sign electronic informed consent on the secure UMN REDCap platform. The results will be presented at academic conferences and published in peer-reviewed publications. Trial registration: ClinicalTrial.gov registration number: NCT04917107 , (this protocol paper refers to the substudy), first registered 6/8/2021.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study is internally funded by the Division of Physical Therapy, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Medical School, University of Minnesota. The research is supported by the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, grant UL1TR002494. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences. The funders have no role in study design, data collection, and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
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- Body awareness
- Neurological pain
- Spinal cord injury
PubMed: MeSH publication types
- Journal Article