Acupuncture for Spinal Cord Injuries

16 May 2008


(1) Acupuncture & Spinal Cord injury
A recent clinical trial of acupuncture therapy for spinal cord injury has shown promising results. 100 patients with acute spinal cord injury were randomly divided into two groups. The control group was treated with standard rehabilitation therapy, whilst the treatment group received electro-acupuncture treatment in addition to rehabilitation. For both groups, neurological and functional scores were assessed at the time of admission, at hospital discharge, and at 1 year after injury. There were significant improvements in both scores in the treatment group, as compared to the control. Acupuncture treatment was started as soon as possible after injury, sometimes actually in the emergency room. The points selected were bilateral Houxi SI-3 and Shenmai BL-62, and four auricular acupuncture points relating to the spinal cord, antihelix, helix, and lower portion of the ear-back areas. (Am J Phys Med Rehabil 2003 Jan;82(1):21-7).

(2) Acupuncture & Spine pain
Acupuncture is effective in treating chronic pain following spinal cord injury (SCI) according to research carried out at the Department of Psychiatry, New Jersey Medical School. Twenty-two patients with SCI who suffered moderate to severe pain of at least six months" duration received a course of 15 acupuncture treatments over a seven and a half week period after an equivalent assessment period without treatment. Patients were then asked about pain intensity, how much their pain interfered with activity, and how they assessed changes in their symptoms. Ten patients (46%) showed improvement in pain intensity and pain sequelae after treatment, whilst six patients (27%) reported an increase in pain that was still present 3 months after treatment. The researchers conclude that acupuncture may provide pain relief for at least a subgroup of individuals with SCI and that future research is needed to determine what part of this effect is because of acupuncture, versus nonspecific effects such as placebo effects and regression to the mean (Arch Phys Med Rehabil 2001 Nov;82(11):1578-86).

Categories: Acupuncture