Electro-acupuncture is the application of a small electric pulse through acupuncture needles. Electro-acupuncture typically is very mild, and has been described as causing a "tapping" sensation. When electro-acupuncture is applied to the site of the Spinal Cord injury, relief from many of the above mentioned symptoms are lessened.
There have also been some studies from China showing some nerve regrowth in rodents with Spinal Cord Injuries. The regrowth is still slow, but quicker than the natural regrowth that does occur. This could potentially be very useful in patients with incomplete Spinal Cord Injuries.
What might this mean?
In terms of money, the medical costs over the lifetime of a person with quadriplegia totals more than three million dollars. For a person with an incomplete spinal cord injury, one in which they likely retain some motor functions, the total is still a staggering $680,000! This is if we're only talking about the medical costs. If you factor in lost wages, decreases in productivity on the job, and fringe benefits, the totals can be an additional $62,000 per year. That's a LOT of money! If some of the medical costs are reduced due to fewer infections and less pain, how much could be saved?
In terms of life improvement, medical problem occurrences are reduced. Can you imagine being in constant pain? How about frequent bladder infections because you have to be catheterized? What if these can each be reduced? Fewer infections and less pain could mean a very different outlook for many!
From a Chinese medical standpoint, a Spinal Cord Injury is just another stagnation of the flow of Qi. Remember the car accident on the freeway analogy? A Spinal Cord Injury is a MAJOR blockage to the flow of Qi, but small improvements CAN be made, which may mean BIG improvements in quality of life for someone living with such an injury.