When a a person is diagnosed with a broken neck it doesn't necessarily mean the end of the world. If the break is below the medulla then the only thing that happens is that the person has lost all nerve connections to the body, and the brain. When the body is tested for the sensation of pain it'll register in the leg and withdraw from the source of the pain but if you ask the guy he wouldn't have known that you even touched him. This is the kind of phenomenon that still boggles the mind of many scientists today.

When the leg is pinched it must register the pain nerves to be excited. So the nerves make the trip up to the spinal cord but can't make the rest of the trip because of the loss of the connections. Whether or not there is any research bing done in this area is still not known, but how would one person go about trying to figure out what the nerves are registering? Well one way would be to try to set up an experiment where the excitement of the nerves caused a light to go off, or a sound to be made, but only the nerves that had anything to do with the sensation of pain. With this information it would be known if the nervous system (spinal cord) still continued to function even if the connection between it and the brain were severed.

Lots of research in this vein. And KNOW the spinal cord will continue to function disconnected from the brain. Questions have to do with how MUCH function the spinal cord has, and the trend of the evidence is much more than one tends to expect. Question is, beyond what has been observed, what would one look for to answer the question does it feel pain? And that may, for the moment, not have a good answer, not because one doesn't know how to observe spinal cord activity but rather because "pain" isn't yet a well defined concept. PG