Medical Research

Guided Electroacupuncture for Spinal Stenosis

Kristen Sparrow • September 22, 2012

I’ve always wondered if, instead of just needling meridian, I used a “paraspinal” approach to needling I would get better results.  I think I’ll go ahead and try.  In Anesthesiology, if you have a difficult epidural to administer, for whatever reason, a paraspinal approach is often much easier, a technique in which you go slightly laterally and below the intervertebral space.  This would place you closer to the actual nerves than in a traditional meridian approach, more in line with the Huo Jia Ji points.  Anyway, this study would suggest that a slightly different angle, and maybe patient position (lateral decubitus) might give better results.  In this study, they didn’t seem to need too many treatments either, yay.

Acupunct Med. 2012 Jun;30(2):103-8.
Spinal nerve root electroacupuncture for symptomatic treatment of lumbar spinal canal stenosis unresponsive to standard acupuncture: a prospective case series.
Inoue M, Nakajima M, Hojo T, Kitakoji H, Itoi M.Department of Clinical Acupuncture and Moxibustion, Meiji University of Integrative Medicine, Kyoto, Japan.
To study the effectiveness of electroacupuncture of the spinal nerve root using a selective spinal nerve block technique for the treatment of lumbar and lower limb symptoms in patients with lumbar spinal canal stenosis.
METHODS: Subjects were 17 patients with spinal canal stenosis who did not respond to 2 months of general conservative treatment and conventional acupuncture. Under x-ray fluoroscopy, two acupuncture needles were inserted as close as possible to the relevant nerve root, as determined by subjective symptoms and x-ray and MRI findings, and low-frequency electroacupuncture stimulation was performed (10 Hz, 10 min). Patients received 3-5 once-weekly treatments, and were evaluated immediately before and after each treatment and 3 months after completion of treatment.
After the first nerve root electroacupuncture stimulation, scores for lumbar and lower limb symptoms improved significantly
CONCLUSION:Lumbar and lower limb symptoms, for which conventional acupuncture and general conservative treatment had been ineffective, improved significantly during a course of electroacupuncture to the spinal nerve root, showing sustained improvement even 3 months after completion of treatment. The mechanisms of these effects may involve activation of the pain inhibition system and improvement of nerve blood flow.