Researchers to investigate electric currents for leg pain


A study into how patients can use electrical stimulation to relieve pain and increase physical activity is to be put to the test by researchers from Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU).

The team of researchers will investigate how the use of Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) can help patients with Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) to walk further and increase their physical activity and, in turn, improve associated-health risks such as heart disease and strokes. 

Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) is a common condition affecting 2.7million people in the UK and causes narrowing of the arteries and pain in the lower limbs, known as Intermittent Claudication (IC), reducing patients’ ability to walk. Funded by the Chief Scientist Office (CSO), the study will build on previous research which found that TENS can reduce pain and increase the walking capabilities of patients.

This investigation will, for the first time, focus on how TENS can contribute positively to patients’ physical activity and overall health. It will also look at how early intervention through patient education could reduce the risk of amputation which is caused by poor circulation and immobility.

Led by Joint-Chief Investigators Dr Christopher Seenan (GCU) and Professor Julie Brittenden (University of Glasgow), the study will examine the feasibility of designing a definitive trial that investigates how regular exercise and physical activity can improve the management of PAD and help to reduce the associated health risks.

CSO is investing £244,085 in the two-year study which is a collaboration between GCU, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHS GG&C), University of Glasgow (UoG), and Northumbria University (NU). The researchers involved are Dr Philippa Dall (GCU), Ukachukwu Abaraogu (GCU), Dr Garry Tew (NU), Mr Wesley Stuart (UoG), and Professor Jon Godwin (GCU).

The study will be performed at the joint University of Glasgow/ NHS GG&C Clinical Research Facility in the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Glasgow and participants will be recruited from vascular outpatient clinics within NHS GG&C. The findings are due to be published in 2019.

Dr Seenan said: “Regular exercise and physical activity are central to the management of PAD and help to improve walking distances and reduce the health-risks associated with PAD such as heart attack and stroke. However, exercise and physical activity in this population is often limited due to pain. The study will investigate whether TENS can improve the physical activity of patients with PAD when delivered alone and/or alongside a patient education programme.”

For more information on GCU, please contact:

Roisin-Alana Di Giacomo

Tel: 0141 331 8672 /07527 401952


This article was posted by: Florin


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