Abstract Background Transverse myelitis (TM) is characterized by acute development of motor, sensory and autonomic dysfunctions due to horizontally diffused inflammation in one or more segments of the spinal cord in the absence of a compressive lesion. The not well-known inflammation process induces demyelination resulting in neurological dysfunction. Case presentation In this case report we used a functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS) technique to evaluate changes in the peri-spinal vascular response induced by a peripheral median nerve electrical stimulation in a patient with chronic transverse myelitis (TM). fNIRS showed drastically reduced signal amplitude in the peri-spinal vascular response, compared to that obtained from a healthy control group throughout most of the C7-T1 and T10-L2 spinal cord segments. Conclusion The potential use of this relatively non-invasive fNIRS technology support the potential clinical application of this method for functional test of the spinal cord through the assessment of the spinal neurovascular response.