The effectiveness of microcurrent therapy in the management of lateral epicondylitis

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The effectiveness of microcurrent therapy in the management of lateral epicondylitis

 

Author: Kwong, Wai-lun
Title: The effectiveness of microcurrent therapy in the management of lateral epicondylitis
Year: 2004
Subject: Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
Electrotherapeutics
Department: Dept. of Rehabilitation Sciences
Pages: viii, 83 leaves : ill. (some col.) ; 30 cm
Language: English
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b1781026
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/1756
Abstract: Lateral epicondylitis is a musculoskeletal condition commonly encountered in out patient physiotherapy clinics. Ultrasound, acupuncture, shockwave and exercise training are common physiotherapy interventions. In the recent decade, physiotherapists have been using microcurrent therapy to treat musculoskeletal conditions including lateral epicondylitis. The small current output in microampere is close to the biological current in our body. Physiological processes in the lesion area are stimulated and the healing is enhanced. However, research on effectiveness of microcurrent for painful conditions is limited. This study is a randomized, controlled trial to evaluate the effectiveness of microcurrent therapy in the management of lateral epicondylitis. Sixteen subjects (3 male and 13 female) participated into the study; they were randomly allocated either into the group receiving microcurrent and exercise, or to the group receiving only exercise therapy alone. All subjects completed the whole treatment course. Outcome measures included mechanical-pain threshold, pain-free handgrip, maximum handgrip and visual analogue scale to assess the intensity of pain during making the maximum handgrip were taken in the 1st treatment session (baseline), at the end of the week 1, week 2, week 3, and in the 3-week follow-up session. The results showed no statistically significant between-group differences in mechanical-pain threshold, pain-free handgrip, maximum handgrip and visual analogue scale during maximum handgrip testing. Only trends of improvement were shown. For the mechanical-pain threshold, the microcurrent & exercise group showed significant within-group improvement (p=0.038). There was a total of 44.91% and 5.98% of increase in mechanical-pain threshold for the microcurrent & exercise group and the exercise group respectively. However, nonsignificant between-group difference was found (p=0.734). For the pain-free handgrip, both groups showed a trend of improvement but no significant between-group difference (p=0.837). There were 18.21% and 35.89% of increase in pain-free handgrip for the microcurrent & exercise group and the exercise group respectively. For the maximum handgrip, there was also no statistically significant between-group difference found (p=0.805). The increase in maximum handgrip for the microcurrent & exercise group and the exercise group across sessions were 6.27% and 16.51% respectively. For the scores of visual analogue scale during maximum handgrip testing, the between-group difference was not significant (p=0.451). There was a decrease in pain scores of 7.17% and 12.21% across sessions for the microcurrent & exercise group and the exercise group respectively. From the findings, it was shown that the addition of microcurrent therapy to exercise is not significantly better than exercise alone. Small sample size is not the factor to affect the results, the choice of treatment parameters of microcurrent stimulation may be limitations of the present study. Future research with modification of treatment parameters of microcurrent stimulation should be done to examine the effectiveness of microcurrent for lateral epicondylitis is recommended.

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