The efficacy of TENS in patients with lateral epicondylitis: a randomized controlled study
Objectives: This study aims to investigate the benefits of transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) as an adjunct to classical methods
to improve pain and function in patients with lateral epicondylitis.
Patients and methods: In this single-blind, randomized controlled study 65 patients with lateral epicondylitis were randomized into the TENS
group and the control group, for two weeks. Both groups received nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug, epicondylitis bandage, ice application,
information and training on the disease and overuse while only the TENS group additionally received TENS application. The scores of the visual
analog scale (VAS) and the Patient-Rated Tenis Elbow Evaluation (PRTEE) questionnaire were evaluated at baseline (pretreatment), one month
and three-month follow-up.
Results: Demographic findings were similar in the groups (p>0.05). Compared with pre-treatment at one month follow-up, all test scores were
significantly improved in the TENS group (p<0.001), while only VAS activity score was improved in the control group (p=0.013). At three-month
follow-up, all test scores were significantly improved in both groups (p<0.05). Considering the change from baseline to one month follow-up,
TENS group was significantly superior to the control in all test scores (p≤0.004). Also, in terms of the change from baseline to three-month
follow-up, TENS group was significantly better than the control in the all scores (p<0.001), except VAS rest score (p=0.209).
Conclusion: In this study, TENS as an adjunct to classic physical therapy methods was found to be beneficial for the improvement of pain and
physical function loss related to lateral epicondylitis.
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