Two articles on PainSci cite Hsueh 1997: 1. The Complete Guide to Trigger Points & Myofascial Pain 2. Zapped! Does TENS work for pain?
PainSci notes on Hsueh 1997:
The authors conclude, “ENS is more effective for immediate relief of myofascial trigger point pain than EMS, and EMS has a better effect on immediate release of muscle tightness than ENS,” and both of them outperformed placebo.
original abstract †Abstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.
This study is designed to investigate the immediate effectiveness of electrotherapy on myofascial trigger points of upper trapezius muscle. Sixty patients (25 males and 35 females) who had myofascial trigger points in one side of the upper trapezius muscles were studied. The involved upper trapezius muscles were treated with three different methods according to a random assignment: group A muscles (n = 18) were given placebo treatment (control group); group B muscles (n = 20) were treated with electrical nerve stimulation (ENS) therapy; and group C muscles (n = 22) were given electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) therapy. The effectiveness of treatment was assessed by conducting three measurements on each muscle before and immediately after treatment: subjective pain intensity [(PI) with a visual analog scale], pressure pain threshold [(PT) with algometry], and range of motion [(ROM) with a goniometer] of upper trapezius muscle (lateral bending of cervical spine to the opposite side). When the effectiveness of treatment was compared with that of the placebo group (group A), there was significant improvement in PI and PT in group B (P < 0.01) but not in group C (P> 0.05). The improvement of ROM was significantly more in group C (P < 0.01) as compared with that in group A or group B. When each group was divided into two additional subgroups based on the initial PI, it was found that ENS could reduce PI and increase PT significantly (P < 0.05), but did not significantly (P> 0.05) improve ROM, as compared with the placebo group for both subgroups. EMS could significantly (P < 0.05) improve ROM, but not PT, better than the placebo groups, for either subgroup. It could reduce PI significantly more (P < 0.05) than placebo controls only for the subgroup with mild to moderate pain, but not with severe pain. For pain relief, ENS was significantly better (P < 0.05) than EMS; but for the improvement of ROM, EMS was significantly better (P < 0.05) than ENS. It is concluded that ENS is more effective for immediate relief of myofascial trigger point pain than EMS, and EMS has a better effect on immediate release of muscle tightness than ENS.
This page is part of the PainScience BIBLIOGRAPHY, which contains plain language summaries of thousands of scientific papers & others sources. It’s like a highly specialized blog. A few highlights:
- Photobiomodulation therapy is not better than placebo in patients with chronic nonspecific low back pain: a randomised placebo-controlled trial. Guimarães 2021 Pain.
- No effect of creatine monohydrate supplementation on inflammatory and cartilage degradation biomarkers in individuals with knee osteoarthritis. Cornish 2018 Nutr Res.
- The CANBACK trial: a randomised, controlled clinical trial of oral cannabidiol for people presenting to the emergency department with acute low back pain. Bebee 2021 Med J Aust.
- Relationships Between Sleep Quality and Pain-Related Factors for People with Chronic Low Back Pain: Tests of Reciprocal and Time of Day Effects. Gerhart 2017 Ann Behav Med.
- Modulation in the elastic properties of gastrocnemius muscle heads in individuals with plantar fasciitis and its relationship with pain. Zhou 2020 Sci Rep.