Electrical therapy relieves pain in patients with peripheral neuropathy

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – "Sympathetic therapy"–an alternative modality involving the application of electrical current to treat the autonomic nervous system systemically –significantly reduces pain and improves sleep in patients with chronic peripheral neuropathy, a neurologist in Texas reports.

In the American Journal of Pain Management for January, Dr. Ernesto H. Guido, a private practitioner in Corpus Christi, discusses treatment with the Dynatron STS (Dynatronics Corporation, Salt Lake City). He explains that the system, approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, delivers low frequency, high intensity electrical current.

According to the Dynatronics web site (www.chronicpainrx.com), sympathetic therapy differs from transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation in that it uses peripheral nerves to gain access to the autonomic nervous system.

Dr. Guido reports the results of administering this treatment daily for 28 days to 20 patients with a primary diagnosis of peripheral neuropathy. Pain duration ranged from 1 to 25 years.

Nineteen subjects reported significant pain relief by the end of the study period. Ten reported complete relief. Even the patient who experienced no pain relief experienced improved sleep and a 30% reduction of pain medication. Most patients began to notice a decrease in pain after just a few days.

"The pain reduction outcomes of this study demonstrate that sympathetic therapy treatments appear to be an effective means of providing symptomatic relief of chronic intractable pain even in patients who have suffered symptomatically for many years, as well as in patients who have been unresponsive to other conventional therapies," Dr. Guido concludes.

Am J Pain Manage 2002;12:31-34.

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