Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation reduces pain, fatigue and hyperalgesia while restoring central inhibition in primary fibromyalgia.
Pain and fatigue associated with fibromyalgia can interfere with daily function, work and social activities. Although the cause for fibromyalgia is unknown, it is generally accepted that there is enhanced central excitability and reduced pain inhibition. Mainstream treatments for fibromyalgia focuses on pain relief to allow those patients to function better.
Because TENS works by reducing central excitability and activating central inhibition pathways, this group tested the hypothesis that TENS would reduce pain and fatigue and improve function and hyperalgesia in people with fibromyalgia. The results showed that TENS decreases pain and fatigue during or directly after application, compared to placebo or no TENS (by 1-time 30-minutes treatment). Moreover there was a decrease in pain and fatigue during movement. Pain threshold was decreased at the location of TENS application and outside the site.
In conclusion, TENS might be considered as an additional nonpharmacological treatment option. Furthermore, TENS could potentially be used during physical activity, as movement pain in people with fibromyalgia is a significant barrier to exercise and leads to a sedentary lifestyle. A reduction in pain with movement might be expected to increase physical activity levels and improve quality of life > From Dailey et al., Pain 154 (2013) 2554-2562. All rights reserved to Elsevier Ltd.
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