Prospective randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of needle acupuncture (with or without electrical stimulation) as a treatment for spinal cord injury (with or without operation) were eligible for inclusion. Trials comparing needle acupuncture with drugs or rehabilitation were also eligible for inclusion. Trials comparing two or more types of acupuncture, or including laser or injection acupuncture were excluded. Dissertations and abstracts were included if they provided sufficient detail.
The included trials considered the effects of electroacupuncture for the functional recovery of spinal cord injury, acute spinal cord injury, traumatic spinal cord injury and unspecified spinal cord injury. The comparators included physical therapy, drugs for urinary retention, and rehabilitation. Most studies compared electroacupuncture plus control treatment with control treatment alone.
The outcomes reported included functional independence measure, other functional measures, and total efficacy rate of bladder dysfunction.
Two authors independently performed study selection; disagreements were resolved through discussion and consultation with a third reviewer as necessary.