Stimulation with low frequency (1.7 Hz) transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation (low-tens) increases motor function of the post-stroke paretic arm
Sonde L, Gip C, Fernaeus SE, Nilsson CG, Viitanen M
Division of Geriatric Medicine, Karolinska Institute, Huddinge Hospital, Sweden
The object of this study is to determine if the functional motor capacity of the paretic extremity can be improved by stimulation with low intensity low frequency (1.7 Hz) transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation (Low-TENS), started 6-12 months after a stroke. Forty-four patients who had a paretic arm as a consequence of their first stroke were included and randomly assigned to either a treatment group (n = 26) or a control group (n = 18). Patients in both groups received physiotherapy at a day-care center, usually twice a week. The treatment group received, in addition, Low-TENS for 60 min, five days a week for three months. Results showed that motor function increased significantly in the treatment group, compared to controls. The Low-TENS did not decrease either pain or spasticity. It is concluded that stimulation by means of Low-TENS could be a valuable complement to the usual training of arm and hand function in the rehabilitation of stroke patients.
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