Spinal Cord Injuries and Electrotherapy

According to research by the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, nearly 1.3 million people in the United States are spinal cord injury victims, and now there’s good news for many of them. New research offers hope.


In the past, a treatment normally used for exercise, Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) was used on a paraplegic student from Wright State University in 1983, and she rose from her wheelchair and walked to get her diploma. Later, her story would inspire the movie “First Steps.” If that was possible then, imagine what could be possible now with our more modern technology.


Researchers at the University of Louisville, UCLA, and the Pavlov Institute of Physiology have used electrodes to stimulate injured spinal cords and reestablish impulses to those presumably paralyzed.


Moreover, a study done by The American Institute of Stress treated 38 retired veterans with spinal cord injuries by using a Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation (CES), to minimize the pain they felt. About only half of the patients that were in the study were actually treated, while the others were held as the control group. After a period of 21 days, the patients were asked if their pain had diminished. About all the patients in the control group said the pain was still to the same intensity, while the rest of the patients who were not in the control group said that the pain had greatly decreased. Based on the information gathered from this study, we can conclude that electrotherapy can help reduce pain, but there are still questions as to its effectiveness.


Can electrotherapy actually cure spinal cord injuries, including those that are more permanent?

As things are going right now, with all our technology and innovations we come up with day after day, there is no reason not to believe this. In the past years, little progress was made in response to spinal cord injuries because we didn’t have the deep understanding over the concept that we have now. Brilliant minds along with technology have changed this so that we can now solve this crucial problem. Many foundations and universities put all their efforts in finding a way to help those with spinal cord injuries. Additionally, due to the expensive nature of these types of treatment for spinal cord injuries, a highly specialized segment of law has emerged, comprised of law firms who litigate for clients with spinal cord injuries when insurance companies refuse to pay for treatment. These firms, like those at the Weaver Injury Law Firm in Dallas, help their clients get bodily injury claims covered by insurance companies when insurance companies stonewall them from obtaining medically advised treatment. Hopefully, in the upcoming years, we will see more intellectual breakthroughs in regards to how electrotherapy can cure spinal cord injuries.