The Pulse

Using Electrical Stimulation to Manage Complications of Diabetes

Posted by ACP on Jun 18, 2019 6:21:12 PM

It is estimated that over 30 million individuals (9.4%) in the US population has diabetes, while more than one in four do not know they have the disease. A staggering 84.1 million adults have pre-diabetes and, of these individuals, 9 out of 10 are unaware of the condition. Diabetes affects multiple parts of the body and causes many complications such as heart disease, stroke, kidney dysfunction, diabetic neuropathy, orthopedic problems, gum disease, and eye disease. Managing blood glucose levels, a healthy lifestyle and physical activity can help prevent these complications.¹

Rehabilitation professionals often treat complications associated with diabetes including weakness, neuropathy, falls, gait abnormalities, and amputations. Electrical stimulation can be helpful in the treatment of these impairments.

Patterned Electrical Neuromuscular Stimulation (PENS), alone or together with aerobic cycling, can help increase circulation, improve strength, decrease muscle disuse atrophy, and improve coordination, thus addressing falls, weakness, and gait as part of a comprehensive treatment intervention.

TOTM capture 1

Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) can reduce neuropathic and phantom limb pain (PLP) to help improve participation in therapy, gait, transfers, and the ability to wear a prosthesis.

TOTM capture 2

Motor TENS to acupoints (Acupuncture-like TENS may be more effective for painful diabetic neuropathy than traditional TENS)²

TOTM capture 3

TENS to the contralateral leg at site of PLP on the amputated leg provided significant reduction in PLP³

2. Upton GA, Tinley P, Al-Aubaidy H, Crawford R. The influence of transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation parameters on the level of pain perceived by participants with painful diabetic neuropathy: A crossover study. Diabetes Metab Syndr. 11(2):113-118, 2017
3. Tilak M,Isaac SA, Fletcher J, Vasanthan LT, Subbaiah RS, Babu R, Tharion G. Mirror Therapy and Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation for Management of Phantom Limb Pain in Amputees – A Single Blinded Randomized Controlled Trial. Physiother Res Int. 21(2):109-115, 2016

Topics: Pain Management, Clinical Tip, Neuro Rehab