Although significant damage is caused by the mechanics of the traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI), secondary injury that follows is often times even more dangerous. It occurs within the first 12–24 hours following the injury and can last up to 5–10 days, depending on the severity of the injury [1]. Secondary injury causes physiological disturbances that disrupt the body’s homeostasis like initiating a cellular inflammatory response at the injury site and increasing the release of free radicals. An overabundance of free radicals contributes to tissue ischemia, cerebral edema, and disruption of the spine-blood barrier. The use of hypothermia (<35°C) as a therapeutic agent has been shown effective in providing neuroprotection from secondary injury [2]. Research has shown the benefits of hypothermia include decreasing oxygen consumption, free radical generation, neurotransmitter release, inflammation, and metabolic demands [3–5]. Even a temperature decrease of 1–2°C can be beneficial at the cellular level [4,6]. However, these studies use techniques that can be invasive. This research evaluates the effectiveness of using a non-invasive cooling pad on the torso to reduce the spinal cord temperature by at least 2°C.

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