Fibromyalgia: TENS shows efficacy for movement-evoked pain


  • Mary Corcoran
  • Univadis Medical News
Access to the full content of this site is available only to registered healthcare professionals. Access to the full content of this site is available only to registered healthcare professionals.

Findings from a new trial suggest that transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) could help reduce movement-evoked pain in women with fibromyalgia. 

The phase 2, double blind, placebo-controlled trial randomised 103 women to receive active‐TENS, 99 women to placebo‐TENS and 99 women to no‐TENS. Pain and fatigue were assessed at baseline. TENS was initially applied for 30 minutes during a visit, after which subjects were re-assessed for pain, fatigue and function. Participants were instructed to use TENS at home 2h/day during activity for four weeks. This was followed by four weeks where all participants received active-TENS.

After four weeks, the active‐TENS group reported a greater reduction in movement‐evoked pain and fatigue than placebo‐TENS (Pain group mean difference −1.0; P=.008; Fatigue: −1.4; P=.001) and no‐TENS groups (Pain −1.8; P<.0001 fatigue>

Furthermore, 70 per cent of participants in the active-TENS group reported global improvement compared to 31 per cent in the placebo-TENS group and 9 per cent in the no-TENS group for the intention-to-treat analysis. 

Writing in Arthritis and Rheumatology, the authors said further research is needed to examine effectiveness in a real-world, pragmatic setting to establish the clinical importance of these findings.