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Schmerz. 2010 Sep;24(5):494-500. doi: 10.1007/s00482-010-0957-4.

[Analgesic efficacy of TENS therapy in patients with gonarthrosis. A prospective, randomised, placebo-controlled, double-blind study].

[Article in German]

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Abteilung für Anästhesiologie und Intensivmedizin, Zentrum für Interdisziplinäre Schmerztherapie, Onkologie und Palliativmedizin, LKH Klagenfurt, St. Veiter Str. 47, 9020 Klagenfurt, Osterreich.



The goal of the study was to substantiate the influence of TENS on pain development and medication needs of patients with proven gonarthrosis and chronic pain. The study included a 3-week stimulation period and 2-week observation period after the end of stimulation.


Patients (at least 20 per group) were assigned to either an active treatment group or placebo group in a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. For the active treatment group the TENS therapy device with HAN stimulation (alternating phase of stimulation) was used (TENStem eco).Total length of time: 30 min at least two times a day. The length of therapy was 3 weeks (therapy), followed by an observation period of 2 weeks (follow-up). The total length of the study was 5 weeks, whereby at the beginning and at the end of weeks 1, 3 and 5 the SF-36, WOMAC score and Lysholm score were documented; the pain score was documented daily.


There are no significant demographic differences between the groups. In the active treatment group there was clear relief in pain intensity in the morning, midday and evening over the 3-week period of therapy. The Lysholm score in the active treatment group was 53.4 at the beginning, 90 after 1 week, 94.5 after the third week and 91 by the fifth week (significant difference). There were no side effects.


TENS therapy with HAN stimulation resulted in pain relief in patients with gonarthrosis during the therapy period with TENS, but the pain relief did not last beyond the end of the TENS therapy. There was an improvement in the Lysholm score and the WOMAC score during the therapy. This improvement remained over the following 2-week period of observation without further TENS therapy. TENS therapy is a simple and effective method to treat gonarthrosis with very few side effects.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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