American Journal of
Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine

Acupuncture for the Treatment of Spinal Cord Injuries

Weerapongse Tangjitjaroen DVM, PhD


Spinal cord injuries with or without vertebral fractures cause neurological deficits associated with spinal cord concussion, compression, contusion, laceration or a combination of these. The diagnosis is based on the history, clinical signs and diagnostic imaging. The prognosis for spinal cord injuries varies with the type of injury and the severity of neurological deficits. If no radiographic evidence of vertebral fracture or luxation are present, the prognosis may be better, but the severity of the neurological deficits and improvement of these deficits over the following 1-2 months best determines the prognosis. From a tradtional Chinese Veterinary Medicine perspective, spinal cord injuries are due to Qi and Blood Stagnation with Qi Deficiency below the site of Stagnation. In experimental studies of spinal cord injury, electroacupuncture has been shown to reduce cell death, promote neuronal plasticity and enhance cellular regeneration. Clinical research has shown that electro-acupuncture and dry needle acupuncture combined with conventional treatments is significantly more effective to treat spinal cord injury from intervertebral disk herniation, than conventional therapy alone. Current acupuncture treatment recommendations for animals with spinal cord injuries have been based on the clinical experiences of different individuals. Further studies are needed to determine the most effective acupoints, acupuncture techniques and duration and frequency of acupuncture treatments to develop the optimum standards of care for acupuncture treatment of spinal cord injuries in animals.

Tangjitjaroen W. Acupuncture for the treatment of spinal cord injuries. Am J Trad Chin Vet Med 2011; 6(2):37-43

Acupuncture for the Treatment of Spinal Cord Injuries

Weerapongse Tangjitjaroen DVM, PhD

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