Content » Vol 36, Issue 5

Optimal stimulation frequency of transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation on people with knee osteoarthritis

Pearl P. W. Law A1 and Gladys L. Y. Cheing A2
A1 Physiotherapy Department Chi Lin Care and Attention Home
A2 Department of Rehabilitation Sciences The Hong Kong Polytechnic University Hong Kong

DOI: 10.1080/16501970410029834

Abstract

Objective: This is a double blind study that examined the optimal stimulation frequency of transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation in reducing pain due to knee osteoarthritis. Subjects: Thirty-four subjects were randomly allocated into 4 groups receiving transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation at either: (i) 2 Hz; (ii) 100 Hz; (iii) an alternating frequency of 2 Hz and 100 Hz (2/100 Hz); or (iv) a placebo transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. Methods: Treatment was administered 5 days a week for 2 weeks. The outcome measures included: (i) a visual analogue scale; (ii) a timed up-and-go test; and (iii) a range of knee motion. Results: The 3 active transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation groups (2 Hz, 100 Hz, 2/100 Hz), but not the placebo group, significantly reduced osteoarthritic knee pain across treatment sessions. However, no significant between-group difference was found. Similarly, the 3 active transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation groups, but not the placebo group, produced significant reductions in the amount of time required to perform the timed up-and-go test, and an increase in the maximum passive knee range of motion. Conclusion: Our findings suggested that 2 weeks of repeated applications of transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation at 2 Hz, 100 Hz or 2/100 Hz produced similar treatment effects for people suffering from osteoarthritic knee.

Lay Abstract

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