Electrical Stimulation


Peripheral Nerve Stimulation for Shoulder Pain: Dose Response


One mechanism responsible for shoulder pain following stroke is weakness of the muscles surrounding the shoulder joint. Surface electrical stimulation has been shown to reduce shoulder pain. However, due to the discomfort of long-term use of surface electrical stimulation, investigators at the FESC investigators developed a technique where electrodes are temporarily implanted directly into muscles. FESC investigators demonstrated that this technique is well tolerated by stroke survivors and is superior to a shoulder sling in reducing shoulder pain. However, this technique now needs to be compared to “usual care,” which consists of elements of standard occupational and physical therapies.

About This Study

Objective/Specific Aims: The primary objective of this randomized controlled trial is to explore the mechanism for Hemiplegic Shoulder Pain (HSP) reduction due to treatment with peripheral nerve stimulation (PNS). We will explore the association of subject-specific clinical and demographic information and pain relief from PNS. We will explore the possible role of central sensitization mechanisms in perpetuating pain via measures of sensory and pain perception. Lastly, we will explore the dose-response association of muscle-contraction from PNS and pain reduction, completion of activities of daily living (ADLs), and improvement in quality of life.

Study Information:  Stroke survivors with shoulder pain will be randomly assigned to receive the electrical stimulation therapy over a 4-week period, beginning with a 1-week stabilization period, followed by 3 weeks of varying levels of stimulation every day. Length of stimulation treatment per day ranges from 3-9 hours per day, depending on to which group the participant is randomly assigned. Total time of electrode implantation is no more than 29 days.


Detailed program information and criteria available at:


Principal Investigator: Richard Wilson, M.D.
Contact: Krissy Hansen, PT
Contact Number: (216) 957-3584
Contact Email: khansen1@metrohealth.org