Electric Muscle Stimulation for CIDP

August 28, 2011 at 10:40 am

It is true that there are physical therapists (and others) who are in the business of selling all kinds of devices (and will happily sell it to you), including one that straps over your peroneal nerve.

This type is often touted as the solution for foot drop. However, it is probably not useful for a true CIDP patient.

Why? With CIDP you have probably lost the outer layer that protects your nerve. As that layer deteriorates, and the muscle axons deteriorate, the end result is that there is no, or very little, ‘path’ for an electric stimulation to follow.

If you cannot solve the problem of muscle and nerve deterioration, sooner or later you experience muscle atrophy. The muscle has atrophied, not because your body cannot produce an electrical signal, rather the muscle atrophies because the electrical signal cannot get through to the muscle fibers, regardless of the source.

At Mayo Clinic Rochester, Mn they not only stated they could not recommend these devices, they advised against them. Why? In my words- yes, you may initially get some response. Unfortunately, as the nerve and muscle continues to decline, the amount of “current’ required to obtain a result goes up and up. As the applied stimulation level goes up ‘you’ end up burning the skin under the electrode.

Ultimately, if you don’t solve the original problem, you’ve wasted the money to buy the unit, or pay the therapists, and caused untold pain to your limb where you’ve applied the stimulation.

Regarding the FDA ‘Warning’, I note the following from that link:

“[I]…When labeled for Rx use by a licensed practitioner, the following uses are generally recognized as acceptable:

1. Relaxation of muscle spasm.

2. Prevention or retardation of disuse atrophy.

3. Muscle reeducation. …[/I]”

So, let’s don’t throw out in the bathwater labeled use by a licensed practitioner who is using an approved device.

I agree that you will not likely get a doctor to prescribe this treatment.

But, maybe you gotta try.