Alternating frequencies of transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation: Does it produce greater analgesic effects on mechanical and thermal pain thresholds?

K. C. TONG, Sing Kai LO, Gladys L. CHEING

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41 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: To determine whether alternating frequency transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation (TENS) at 2 and 100Hz (2/100Hz) has a more potent hypoalgesic effect than a fixed frequency at 2 or 100Hz in healthy participants.
Design: A single-blind randomized controlled trial with a convenience sample.
Setting: University physiotherapy department.
Participants: Sixty-four healthy volunteers (32 men [mean age, 28.1±5.9y], 32 women [mean age, 27.7±5.6y]) were recruited and randomly divided into 4 groups.
Interventions: The 4 groups received TENS delivered at (1) 2Hz; (2) 100Hz; (3) 2/100Hz alternating frequency; and (4) no treatment (control group), respectively. Electric stimulation was applied over the anterior aspect of the dominant forearm for 30 minutes.
Main Outcome Measures: Mechanical pain thresholds (MPTs) and heat pain thresholds (HPTs) were recorded before, during, and after TENS stimulation. The data were analyzed using linear mixed models, with group treated as a between-subject factor and time a within-subject factor.
Results: During and shortly after electric stimulation, HPT increased significantly in the alternating frequency stimulation group (P=.024). MPT increased significantly in both the 100Hz (P=.008) and the alternating frequency groups (P=.012), but the increase was substantially larger in the 100Hz group.
Conclusions: Alternating frequency stimulation produced a greater elevation in the HPT, but a greater increase in the MPT was achieved using 100Hz stimulation. Copyright © 2007 American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine and the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1344-1349
JournalArchives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Volume88
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2007

Citation

Tong, K. C., Lo, S. K., & Cheing, G. L. (2007). Alternating frequencies of transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation: Does it produce greater analgesic effects on mechanical and thermal pain thresholds? Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 88(10), 1344-1349. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2007.07.017

Keywords

  • Pain
  • Rehabilitation
  • Transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation

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