Traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) results in partial or complete motor deficits, such as paraplegia, tetraplegia, and sphincter control, as well as sensory disturbances and autonomic dysregulation such as arterial hypotension, lack of sweating, and alterations in skin lability. All this has a strong psychological impact on the affected person and his/her family, as well as costs to healthcare institutions with an economic burden in the short, medium, and long terms. Despite at least forty years of experimental animal studies and several clinical trials with different therapeutic strategies, effective therapy is not universally accepted. Most of the published works on acute and chronic injury use a single treatment, such as medication, trophic factor, transplant of a cell type, and so on, to block some secondary injury mechanisms or promote some mechanisms of structural/functional restoration. However, despite significant results in experimental models, the outcome is a moderate improvement in muscle strength, sensation, or eventually in sphincter control, which has been considered non-significant in human clinical trials. Here we present a brief compilation of successful individual treatments that have been applied to secondary mechanisms of action. These studies show limited neuroprotective or neurorestorative approaches in animal models and clinical trials. Thus, the few benefits achieved so far represent a rationale to further explore other strategies that seek better structural and functional restoration of the injured spinal cord.

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