Content » Vol 30, Issue 2

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
DOI: 10.1080/1650197798309599


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.

Lay Abstract


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