Spinal Cord Stimulation Can Relieve Diabetic Neuropathy Pain

(HealthDay News) — According to a new study published online in Diabetes Care, patients with painful diabetic peripheral neuropathy (PDPN) can find relief with spinal cord stimulation (SCS) treatment.

Rachel Slangen, from the Maastricht University Medical Centre in the Netherlands, and colleagues randomized 36 PDPN patients to SCS in combination with best medical treatment (BMT; 22 patients) and BMT only (14 patients). If trial stimulation was successful, the SCS system was implanted. Definitions of treatment success include ≥50% pain relief during daytime or nighttime or “(very) much improved” for pain and sleep on the patient global impression of change scale at six months.

The researchers found that 59% of the SCS and 7 percent of BMT met the definition of treatment success (P < 0.01). Daytime and nighttime pain relief were reported by 41 and 36% in the SCS group, respectively, and by 0 and 7% in the BMT group, respectively (P < 0.05). In 55 and 36% of the SCS group, pain and sleep were “(very) much improved,” while no changes were seen in the BMT group (P < 0.001 and P < 0.05, respectively). One patient from the SCS group died as a result of a subdural hematoma.

“Treatment success was shown in 59% of patients with PDPN who were treated with SCS over a six-month period, although this treatment is not without risks,” the authors write.

The study was funded by Medtronic.


  1. Slangen R et al. Diabetes Care. 2014;doi:10.2337/dc14-0684