The effect of acupuncture on the inflammatory response and spasticity following spinal cord injury
Spinal cord injury (SCI) is a serious pathological condition, which causes significant morbidity and mortality in patients who are suffering from it. Acupuncture is an important and integral part of traditional Chinese Medicine, which has been practiced in Asian countries for more than 5,200 years. The present narrative literature review aims to present recent research data in relation to the therapeutic effect of acupuncture on patients with SCI, and more specifically on the reduction of the inflammatory response and the spasticity after an injury of the spinal cord.
It seems that acupuncture, through its anti-inflammatory effect, is effective in patients with SCI. This therapeutic effect is multifactorial, including the regulation of the activity of various endogenic biological mediators, the regeneration of nerve fibres and stem cells and the inhibition of inflammation, neural apoptosis and oxidative stress in the injured spinal cord.
Since there is evidence that inflammation plays an important role in the spasticity seen in patients with SCI, there is necessity for future research, both at the experimental and also at the clinical level, in order to test the hypothesis of a close correlation between the anti-inflammatory effect of acupuncture and the successful treatment of spasticity in patients with SCI.
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