This section is from the book "A Treatise On Therapeutics, And Pharmacology Or Materia Medica Vol1", by George B. Wood. Also available from Amazon: Part 1 and Part 2.
This has most frequently the form of paraplegia. When dependent on active congestion, inflammation, or even pressure from moderate hemorrhage or effusion, it often, I believe, ends favourably with the removal of the disease in the spinal column; and, in such cases, there is no indication whatever for electricity, which could be productive only of mischief. When the palsy, having originated in an injury or wound of the spine, persists after time has been allowed for the repair of the injury, the remedy may be used with hope of benefit. But as this case falls under the category of traumatic paralysis, of which I shall treat separately, it is unnecessary to say more of it at present. When the palsy continues in consequence of previous hemorrhage, the same prognosis and indications exist as in cerebral hemorrhage. But, unhappily, most cases of obstinate spinal paraplegia depend on spontaneous organic lesion of the medulla, generally of inflammatory origin; and little is to be expected from any remedy. Electricity should be used only when the palsy has survived all traces of spinal inflammation, under which circumstances it is indicated, and will no doubt often do good. I presume that most of the cases of paraplegia, not hysterical, which end in recovery under the use of electricity and nux vomica, are of this character. In spinal paralysis, according to M. Duchenne, there is a complete absence of electro-muscular contractility and sensibility. I should say that there might be good reason to refer the disease to the spine when this condition is presented; but it does not necessarily follow, because sensation and voluntary motion are lost in the lower extremities, in consequence of disease in the spinal marrow, that therefore reflex action should cease; for the lesion may be seated only in the conducting fibres by which the brain communicates with the limbs, and the spinal centres themselves may be untouched. Such, I believe, are the many cases of paraplegia which M. Duchenue is indisposed to consider spinal, because wanting in what he deems to be the characteristic relation to electric influence, and which are benefited by faradisation.