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EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL AND REHABILITATION MEDICINE

A Journal on Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation after Pathological Events


Official Journal of the Italian Society of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine (SIMFER), European Society of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine (ESPRM), European Union of Medical Specialists - Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine Section (UEMS-PRM), Mediterranean Forum of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine (MFPRM), Hellenic Society of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine (EEFIAP)
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European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine 2013 April;49(2):197-204

language: English

Effectiveness of high-frequency transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation at tender points as adjuvant therapy for patients with fibromyalgia

Carbonario F. 1, Matsutani L. A. 2, Yuan S. L. K. 1, Marques A. P. 1

1 Department of Speech Therapy, Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy, Faculty of Medicine of the University of Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil;
2 Department of Biological and Health Sciences, FIEO, Osasco, Brazil


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Background: Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain syndrome associated with sleep disorders, fatigue and psychological symptoms. Combinations therapies, such as electrotherapy and therapeutic exercises have been used in the clinical practice.
Aim: To assess the efficacy of high-frequency transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) as an adjuvant therapy to aerobic and stretching exercises, for the treatment of fibromyalgia.
Design: Controlled clinical trial.
Setting: Unit of rehabilitation of a public hospital
Population: Twenty-eight women aged 52.4±7.5 years, with fibromyalgia.
Methods: A visual analogue scale measured pain intensity; tender points pain threshold, by dolorimetry; and quality of life, by the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire. All subjects participated in an eight-week program consisting of aerobic exercises, followed by static stretching of muscle chains. In TENS group, high-frequency (150 Hz) was applied on bilateral tender points of trapezium and supraspinatus.
Results: TENS group had a greater pain reduction (mean change score=-2.0±2.9 cm) compared to Without TENS group (-0.7±3.7 cm). There was a difference between mean change scores of each group for pain threshold (right trapezium: 0.2±1 kg/cm² in TENS group and -0.2±1.2 kg/cm² in Without TENS group). In the evaluation of clinically important changes, patients receiving TENS had relevant improvement of pain, work performance, fatigue, stiffness, anxiety and depression compared to those not receiving TENS.
Conclusion: It has suggested that high-frequency TENS as an adjuvant therapy is effective in relieving pain, anxiety, fatigue, stiffness, and in improving ability to work of patients with fibromyalgia.
Clinical rehabilitation impact: High-frequency TENS may be used as a short-term complementary treatment of fibromyalgia.

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