TENS Treatment Eases Pain and Fatigue of Fibromyalgia, Phase 2 Trial Shows

TENS Treatment Eases Pain and Fatigue of Fibromyalgia, Phase 2 Trial Shows
Four weeks of transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) ease the pain and fatigue associated with movement in women with fibromyalgia (FM), a Phase 2 study showed.  Findings from the study, “A Randomized Controlled Trial of TENS for Movement‐Evoked Pain in Women with Fibromyalgia,” were published in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatology. Fibromyalgia is a complex disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain and fatigue. Pharmaceutical therapies have had limited effectiveness, with many people taking multiple drugs and still experiencing pain, limiting their physical activity.  While exercise has been shown to be an effective treatment for FM, individuals still report pain caused by body movements (movement-evoked pain) which limits participation in physical activities.  An alternative is transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), an intervention that delivers a low level of electrical current through the skin via electrodes placed on the body, with the intent of reducing pain.  In animal models, TENS treatment reduced the activity of pain-sensitive nerve cells. As people with FM have a reduced ability to inhibit this activity, TENS may be a useful treatment.  Researchers at The University of Iowa and Vanderbilt University Medical Center initiated the Fibromyalgia Activity Study with TENS (FAST) — a Phase 2 (NCT01888640), placebo-controlled study of the effectiveness of TENS to ease movement-evoked pain and fatigue in women with FM.  Their study enrolled 301 women between the ages of 18 and 70. Of these, 103 were assigned to TENS treatment (active-TENS group), 99 were given a sham TENS treatment that looked identical but delivered a very weak, gradually reducing current (placebo-TENS group), and 99 rece
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