TENS, electroacupuncture and ice massage: comparison of treatment for osteoarthritis of the knee

Am J Acupunct. 1999;27(3-4):133-40.


The purpose of this study was to compare the effectiveness of transcutaneous nerve stimulation (TENS), electroacupuncture (EA), and ice massage with placebo treatment for the treatment of pain. Subjects (n = 100) diagnosed with osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee were treated with these modalities. The parameters for evaluating the effectiveness of treatment include pain at rest, stiffness, 50 foot walking time, quadriceps muscle strength, and knee flexion degree. The results showed (a) that all three methods could be effective in decreasing not only pain but also the objective parameters in a short period of time; and (b) that the treatment results in TENS, EA and ice massage were superior to placebo.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Electroacupuncture*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ice
  • Male
  • Massage*
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / therapy*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulation*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Ice