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A RANDOMISED CLINICAL TRIAL OF TENS AND EXERCISE FOR PATIENTS WITH CHRONIC NECK PAIN

Background: Both transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) and exercise rehabilitation have been reported as possible successful treatment modalities for patients with chronic neck pain.

Research question/s: Does TENS on acupuncture points or neck exercise rehabilitation improve pain and increase muscle strength in chronic neck pain patients?

Methodology:Subjects:218 patients with chronic neck pain.:Experimental procedure: All the subjects were randomly assigned to either (1) TENS over the acupuncture points plus infrared irradiation (TENS = 73); (2) exercise training (EX = 67); or (3) a control group (CON = 78) (infrared irradiation alone). Treatment was administered 2/week for 6 weeks. Subjects were assessed before, after 6 weeks treatment, and at 6 months.: Measures of outcome: Pain (verbal numeric pain scale), function (Northwick Park Neck Pain Questionnaire), muscle strength (isometric neck muscle strength – component score coefficient).

Main finding/s: Improvements in neck muscle strength was observed in all three groups after 6 weeks. Improvement in the CON group was not clinically significant and it could not be maintained at the 6-month follow-up.


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Conclusion/s: 6 weeks treatment with either TENS or neck muscle exercise rehabilitation resulted in clinically relevant improvements in disability, isometric neck muscle strength, and pain in patients with chronic neck pain.

Evidence based rating: 8/10

Clinical interest rating: 7.5/10

Type of study: Randomised …

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