Beneficial Effects of Electrical Stimulation on Neuropathic Symptoms in Diabetes Patients

J Foot Ankle Surg. May-Jun 1998;37(3):191-4. doi: 10.1016/s1067-2516(98)80109-9.


Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation is utilized for relieving pain in the diabetes peripheral neuropathy. Previous studies were short-term and did not document sustained beneficial effects. In this study, the authors evaluated long-term effectiveness of electrotherapy administered by proprietary equipment, an H-wave machine. A detailed questionnaire concerning patients' symptoms prior to and following electrotherapy was mailed to the users of H-wave machine. The responses of 34 individuals who had diabetes mellitus were analyzed (age 74.1 +/- 1.6 SEM years, body mass index 28.5 +/- 0.8 kg/m2, duration of diabetes 15.8 +/- 2.0 years and duration of neuropathic symptoms 8.0 +/- 1.8 years). Telephone interviews were conducted with 20 additional diabetes patients selected randomly from the persons who did not return the questionnaire. Forty-one (76%) patients reported a 44.0 +/- 4.0% subjective improvement in their neuropathic pain. The overall improvement in pain was also significant on an analog scale of 10 (p < .01), and correlated well with the percent amelioration data (r2 = .65). These data suggest an effectiveness of electrotherapy in managing neuropathic pain as an adjunct to the analgesics. It appears to provide continued benefit as the responders have used this nonpharmacological treatment modality for an average period of 1.7 +/- 0.3 years.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / therapy*
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy* / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Treatment Outcome