Send to

Choose Destination
Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2004 May;85(5):695-704.

Intramuscular neuromuscular electric stimulation for poststroke shoulder pain: a multicenter randomized clinical trial.

Author information

Departments of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH 44109, USA.



To assess the effectiveness of intramuscular neuromuscular electric stimulation (NMES) in reducing poststroke shoulder pain.


Multicenter, single-blinded, randomized clinical trial.


Ambulatory centers of 7 academic rehabilitation centers in the United States.


Volunteer sample of 61 chronic stroke survivors with shoulder pain and subluxation.


Treatment subjects received intramuscular NMES to the supraspinatus, posterior deltoid, middle deltoid, and trapezius for 6 hours a day for 6 weeks. Control subjects were treated with a cuff-type sling for 6 weeks. Main outcome measure Brief Pain Inventory question 12 (BPI 12), an 11-point numeric rating scale administered in a blinded manner at the end of treatment, and at 3 and 6 months posttreatment.


The NMES group exhibited significantly higher proportions of success based on the 3-point or more reduction in BPI 12 success criterion at the end of treatment (65.6% vs 24.1%, P<.01), at 3 months (59.4% vs 20.7%, P<.01), and at 6 months (59.4% vs 27.6%, P<.05). By using the most stringent "no pain" criterion, the NMES group also exhibited significantly higher proportions of success at the end of treatment (34.4% vs 3.4%, P<.01), at 3 months (34.4% vs 0.0%, P<.001), and at 6 months (34.4% vs 10.3%, P<.05).


Intramuscular NMES reduces poststroke shoulder pain among those with shoulder subluxation and the effect is maintained for at least 6 months posttreatment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center