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THE EFFICIENCY OF TRANSCUTANEOUS ELECTRICAL NERVE STIMULATION IN ASSOCIATION WITH GABAPENTIN IN THE TREATMENT OF NEUROPATHIC PAIN IN PATIENTS WITH SPINAL CORD INJURY
Objectives. The aim of the study was to investigate the effect of low-frequency transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (LF-TENS) in the treatment of neuropathic pain in patients with spinal cord injury (SCI).
Methods. A total of 25 SCI patients with neuropathic pain were included in the study during October 2013 and April 2014. History, duration, localization and characteristics of pain were recorded. Visual analog scale (VAS) was used to investigate the effect of LF-TENS two times during the day. Patients were randomly assigned to study and control groups. The study group was treated with 30 min of LF-TENS daily for 10 days while the control group with 30 min of placebo TENS.
Results. The mean age of the patients was 30.38 ± 6.91 years. Out of 21 patients, 3 were tetraplegic and 18 were paraplegic. Four patients had complete SCI while 17 patients had incomplete injuries. Two groups were similar with respect to age, gender, duration, level and severity of injury. All patients were assigned to therapy with gabapentin for 10 days. In the LF-TENS treatment group, a more statistically significant reduction of the VAS values was observed than in the control group.
Conclusion. This study revealed that in treatment of neuropathic pain of SCI patients, LF-TENS may be effective in combination with gabapentin. This article presents LF-TENS may effectively complement pharmacological treatment in patients with SCI and neuropathic pain.
Keywords: transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, neuropathic pain, spinal cord injury
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