Biomedical and General Engineering Department
BS in Biomedical Engineering
Chronic pain caused by lack of blood flow is known as ischemic pain. Neurostimulation, the application of electrical currents through a region of the body, is effective for pain modulation, and it is hypothesized that this can be explained by the gate control theory and alterations of the sympathetic output initiated by the metaboreflex. The decrease of sympathetic output reduces vasoconstriction and improves blood flow. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) and interferential currents (IFC) stimulation, both non-invasive neurostimulation techniques, were evaluated for their effects on cutaneous blood flow on the palm. High or low frequency TENS and/or IFC, and the electrode positions (on the forearm or the back) were evaluated. Ischemia was induced to simulate the chronic pain experienced by individuals, and along with pain and blood flow, the amount of time to stabilize blood flow, known as reperfusion time, was investigated. There were no differences from control except for reperfusion time in IFC on the back. This pre-pilot study was limited by sample size, therefore future work with a larger test group will improve the reliability of the data and allow for the evaluation of the effects on blood flow and ischemic pain.