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Take a Closer Look at This Innovative Option for Diabetic Patients To Control Debilitating Pain



Turns out stabbing pain in legs and feet can be triggered by diabetes – but what to do about it so you can walk with ease again? These innovative ideas have helped to help relieve these types of symptoms suffered by so many across the U.S.


37.3 million Americans – about 1 in 10 – have diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.1 The chronic disease can take a severe toll on an individual’s quality of life, affecting their physical, mental, and emotional well-being.


November is National Diabetes Month, a time when communities across the country come together to raise awareness and discuss detection and management of this prevalent disease.


Some people with diabetes also suffer from painful diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN), a deliberating and progressive neurological disorder that affects approximately 30% of the diabetes patient population.2 DPN can be caused when high blood sugar (glucose) damages nerves, most often in the legs and feet, leading to chronic numbness and burning or stabbing pain.


This Innovative Option for Diabetic Patients Controls Debilitating Pain


Conventional medical approaches, such as compression socks, topical creams, and prescription medications, do not always resolve DPN symptoms. But there is hope for these specific diabetes patients. Recently, spinal cord stimulation (SCS) has been FDA approved as a therapy for treatment of painful DPN of the lower extremities. A National Institutes of Health review finds that spinal cord stimulation for painful DPN is an effective and safe option for treatment.3



SCS is a proven long-term and effective therapy for managing chronic pain.4,5

  • A spinal cord stimulator is an implantable medical device that works by disrupting the pain signals traveling between the spinal cord and the brain.
  • Patients with DPN are 17 times more likely to experience significant pain relief if treated with SCS compared to conventional treatment.6,7,8
  • 86% of patients experienced treatment success after receiving SCS therapy for one year.9
  • SCS can offer proven long-term therapy for managing chronic pain, with the majority of patients experiencing meaningful pain relief through five years of treatment using the device.9


This Innovative Option for Diabetic Patients Controls Debilitating Pain


I spoke with Dr. Silky Patel, an interventional spine, sports and pain management physician in Houston, to discuss the impact of DPN and the latest innovative way to treat the condition. Joining her was Ms. Farrah Stewart, a patient of Dr. Patel’s with painful DPN and a spinal cord stimulator, to share her experience and the impact spinal cord stimulation has made in her life.







Dr. Silky Patel is a fellowship-trained and double board-certified Interventional Spine, Sports and Pain Management Physician in Houston, Texas. She specializes in interventional spine, musculoskeletal and electrodiagnostic medicine, where she is the distinguished recipient of Top Doctor 2021 & 2022 from TXTopDocs.

Dr. Patel is a medical graduate of The University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) in Galveston, Texas. She has dedicated her career to passionately curing and motivating people to live a healthier lifestyle. You can learn more about her at silkypatelmd.com.




Farrah Stewart-Tarver of Houston is a registered nurse and is a patient of Dr. Patel’s. Farrah suffered from painful diabetic peripheral neuropathy, which complicated her work and day-to-day activities. After trying several different treatment options, Farrah met with Dr. Patel, who has been working with her to help manage her chronic pain issues through spinal cord stimulation therapy.




Things to Know:


INDICATIONS: Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) is indicated as an aid in the management of chronic, intractable pain of the trunk and/or limbs-including unilateral or bilateral pain.

CONTRAINDICATIONS: Diathermy – Energy from diathermy can be transferred through the implanted system and cause tissue damage resulting in severe injury or death.

WARNINGS: Sources of electromagnetic interference (e.g., defibrillation, electrocautery, MRI, RF ablation, and therapeutic ultrasound) can interact with the system, resulting in unexpected changes in stimulation, serious patient injury or death. An implanted cardiac device (e.g., pacemaker, defibrillator) may damage a neurostimulator, and electrical pulses from the neurostimulator may cause inappropriate response of the cardiac device. Diabetic patients may have more frequent and severe complications with surgery. A preoperative assessment is advised for some diabetic patients to confirm they are appropriate candidates for surgery.

PRECAUTIONS: Safety and effectiveness has not been established for pediatric use, pregnancy, unborn fetus, or delivery. Avoid activities that put stress on the implanted neurostimulation system components. Recharging a rechargeable neurostimulator may result in skin irritation or redness near the implant site.

ADVERSE EVENTS: May include: undesirable change in stimulation (uncomfortable, jolting or shocking); hematoma, epidural hemorrhage, paralysis, seroma, infection, erosion, device malfunction or migration, pain at implant site, loss of pain relief, and other surgical risks. Adverse events may result in fluctuations in blood glucose in diabetic patients. Refer to www.medtronic.com for product manuals for complete indications, contraindications, warnings, precautions and potential adverse events.


Visit DPNRelief.com to learn more.




  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Facts, Stats, and Impacts of Diabetes. https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/library/spotlights/diabetes-facts-stats.html
  2. Sloan G, Alam, U, Selvarajah D, Tesfaye S. The Treatment of Painful Diabetic Neuropathy. Current Diabetes Reviews. July 2021
  3. Henson JV, Varhabhatla NC, Bebic Z, Kaye AD, Yong RJ, Urman RD, Merkow JS. Spinal Cord Stimulation for Painful Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy: A Systematic Review. Pain Ther. 2021 Dec;10(2):895-908. doi: 10.1007/s40122-021-00282-9. Epub 2021 Jul 10. PMID: 34244979; PMCID: PMC8586096.
  4. Kumar K, Taylor RS, Jacques L, et al. The effects of spinal cord stimulation in neuropathic pain are sustained: a 24-month follow-up of the prospective randomized controlled multicenter trial of the effectiveness of spinal cord stimulation. Neurosurgery. 2008;63(4):762-770. Discussion: 770.
  5. Kemler MA, de Vet HC, Barendse GA, van den Wildenberg FA, van Kleef M. Effect of spinal cord stimulation for chronic complex regional pain syndrome type 1: five-year final follow-up of patients in a randomized controlled trial. J Neurosurg. 2008;108(2):292-298.
  6. Medtronic. Medtronic Pain Therapy Clinical Summary M221494A016 Rev B. United States; 2022
  1. de Vos CC, Meier K, Zaalberg PB, et al. Spinal cord stimulation in patients with painful diabetic neuropathy: a multicentre randomized clinical trial. Pain. 2014 Nov;155(11):2426-31.
  2. Slangen R, Schaper N, Faber C, et al. Spinal Cord Stimulation and Pain Relief in Painful Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy: A Prospective Two-Center Randomized Controlled Trial. Diabetes Care. 2014;37:3016-3024.
  3. Van Beek M, Geurts J, Slangen R, et al. Severity of Neuropathy Is Associated With Long-term Spinal Cord Stimulation Outcome in Painful Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy: Five-Year Follow-up of a Prospective Two-Center Clinical Trial. Diabetes Care. 2018;41:32–38.



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