College - Author 1

College of Engineering

Department - Author 1

Biomedical and General Engineering Department

Degree Name - Author 1

BS in Biomedical Engineering



Primary Advisor

Trevor Cardinal, Melanie Goodman Keiser, Stuart Rosenburg


Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) impacts approximately eight million people in the United States [1]. Disease progression leads to chronic ischemic pain, hindering quality of life. Pharmaceuticals are a typical treatment for pain associated with PAD; but as few as 30% of patients have a significant reduction of pain (≥50%) [2].

Neurostimulation is commonly used as a treatment for various diseases and injuries, including Parkinson’s disease and sports-related back and knee injuries [2]. The objective of the study was to explore neurostimulation and its effect on pain and paresthesia for a model of acute peripheral ischemia in young college students.

Pain is highly subjective and as a result can be difficult to measure. As a result, various pain scales and questionnaires exist and are commonly used for self-reported measurement of pain. Based on literature and prior pilot work, three instruments for measuring pain were employed to determine which would provide the best signal to noise ratio. Of all the instruments tested, the McGill Pain questionnaire best showed differences in pain in this study, with the best signal to noise ratio, and is recommended for future research and clinical assessment of ischemic pain.

Neurostimulation treatment did not cause a statistically significant reduction in pain. However, different trends are seen among different patients with some patients having an apparent decrease in pain with transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) treatment while others have an apparent decrease in pain with interferential currents stimulation (IFC) treatment. This indicates that it would be worthwhile to further explore neurostimulation and determine what causes the differing responses. Based on the differing responses, neurostimulation should be pursued as a method of ischemic pain reduction that could be tailored to the specific patient based on what neurostimulation best helps them.