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Phys Ther. 2003 Mar;83(3):208-23.

An investigation into the analgesic effects of interferential currents and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation on experimentally induced ischemic pain in otherwise pain-free volunteers.

Author information

1
School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Health and Environment, Leeds Metropolitan University, Calverly St, Leeds LS1 3HE, United Kingdom. M.Johnson@LMU.ac.uk

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE:

Interferential currents (IFC) and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) are used for pain management. This study compared the analgesic effects of IFC and TENS on experimentally induced ischemic pain in otherwise pain-free subjects using a modified version of the submaximal-effort tourniquet technique.

SUBJECTS:

The subjects were 30 volunteers (18 male, 12 female) without known pathology that could cause pain. Their mean age was 33.5 years (SD=9.9, range=21-54).

METHOD:

A single-blind, sham-controlled, parallel-group method was used. The primary outcome measure was the change in the self-report of pain intensity during 1 of 3 possible interventions: (1) IFC, (2) TENS, or (3) sham electrotherapy. The IFC and TENS were administered on the forearm, and the sham electrotherapy group received no current output via a dummy stimulator.

RESULTS:

A 2-way repeated-measures analysis of variance revealed that there was no change in pain intensity during treatment when all 3 groups were considered together. Further analysis revealed that IFC reduced pain intensity when compared with sham electrotherapy but not when compared only with TENS.

DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION:

There were no differences in the magnitude of analgesia between IFC and TENS. Interferential currents reduced pain intensity to a greater extent than sham electrotherapy.

PMID:
12620086
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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