East West Acupuncture

East West Acupuncture

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Neurological Issues


Spinal Cord Injury

A controlled study found acupuncture to be effective for diffuse, burning pain associated with spinal cord injury (Rapson et al 2003).

Rapson LM, Wells N, Pepper J, Majid N, Boon H. Acupuncture as a promising treatment for below-level central neuropathic pain: a retrospective study.J Spinal Cord Med. 2003 Spring;26(1):21-6. Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, Lyndhurst Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVE: Below-level central neuropathic pain, a diffuse pain characterized by generalized burning, is commonly experienced by individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI). The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of an electroacupuncture protocol for the treatment of below-level central neuropathic pain developed at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, Lyndhurst Center, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. METHOD: Retrospective chart review. RESULTS: Thirty-six individuals with traumatic and nontraumatic SCI met the inclusion criteria. Of these, 24 showed improvement after treatment with the electroacupuncture protocol. Type of injury, level of injury, and duration of below-level central neuropathic pain was not correlated with improvement. However, individuals whose pain was described as bilateral (vs unilateral; P = 0.014) or symmetric (vs nonsymmetric; P = 0.026) were more likely to improve after acupuncture treatment. Overall, patients whose burning pain was bilateral, symmetric, and constant (P = 0.005) were the most likely to improve. CONCLUSION: This retrospective study suggests that the Lyndhurst Center Central Neuropathic Pain Acupuncture Protocol may be an effective treatment option for patients with SCI who are experiencing below-level central neuropathic pain. Additional prospective clinical studies are needed to confirm these findings.