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Acupunct Med. 2012 Jun;30(2):103-8. doi: 10.1136/acupmed-2011-010122. Epub 2012 Apr 25.

Spinal nerve root electroacupuncture for symptomatic treatment of lumbar spinal canal stenosis unresponsive to standard acupuncture: a prospective case series.

Author information

1
Department of Clinical Acupuncture and Moxibustion, Meiji University of Integrative Medicine, Kyoto, Japan. mo_inoue@meiji-u.ac.jp

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

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.

RESULTS:

After the first nerve root electroacupuncture stimulation, scores for lumbar and lower limb symptoms improved significantly (low back pain, p<0.05; lower limb pain, p<0.05; lower limb dysaesthesia, p<0.01) with some improvement in continuous walking distance. Symptom scores and continuous walking distance showed further improvement before the final treatment (p<0.01), and a significant sustained improvement was observed 3 months after completion of treatment (p<0.01).

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.

PMID:
22534725
DOI:
10.1136/acupmed-2011-010122
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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