Last-Resort Option for Painful Neuropathy
Electrical stimulation of the spinal cord may be a last-resort treatment for people with painful diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage) who get no relief from medication. In a study of 22 such patients with severe leg pain, 17 reported at least 50 percent less pain following a two-week trial using a system consisting of an external stimulator and an implanted device. When the stimulator was also implanted in those 17 patients, all but four reported pain relief after six months compared with 1 in 14 people who received medical treatment alone. One participant developed an infection, and the system had to be removed, while another died after complications with the surgery. Such events are rare, but researchers still urge caution. Always discuss your options with your doctor.
Source: Diabetes Care, published online Sept. 11, 2014