EFFECT OF AEROBIC EXERCISE INTERVENTION ON PAINFUL DIABETIC NEUROPATHY
University of Kansas
Preventive Medicine and Public Health
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Background: Painful diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN) is a common complication of diabetes. While the beneficial effect of exercise on diabetes has been well established, its effect specifically on painful DPN has not been thoroughly explored. The objective of this pilot study is to examine the effect of aerobic exercise on pain in DPN. Methods: Twelve Sedentary individuals with type 2 diabetes mellitus between ages 40-70 with clinical diagnosis of DPN were enrolled in a 16-week, 3X week supervised aerobic exercise program. Brief Pain Inventory-Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy (BPI-DPN) was used to assess pain intensity (worst, least, average, now) and pain interference with daily life (activity, mood, walk, normal work, relationship, sleep, enjoyment of life) pre and post the intervention. BMI, maximum oxygen uptake (VO2max), hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), and blood pressure were also measured pre and post the intervention as secondary outcomes of interest. Results: 10 of 12 (83.3%) (5 males/5 females; age 57 ± 4.59 years; duration of diabetes 12.2 ± 5.94 years) participants reported pain due to DPN on the BPI-DPN and were included in the analysis. In these participants, significant reductions in pain interference on walking (4.95±2.83pre/2.8±2.74post, 0.0073), normal work (5.3±3.16pre/3.5±3.06post, P=0.0478), relationship with others (3.55±3.62pre/1±1.15post, P=0.0264), and sleep (5.05±2.77pre/3.2±3.12post, P=0.0407) were observed following the intervention. The overall pain interference was also reduced (4.50±2.48pre/2.56±2.01post, P=0.0267). However, there was no change in pain intensity scores. VO2max showed a significant increase post-intervention, while BMI, HbA1c, and blood pressure remained unchanged. Conclusion: These preliminary results show reductions in perceived pain interference in people with painful DPN following an aerobic exercise intervention, without a change in pain intensity. Further validation by a randomized controlled trial is needed.
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