Introduction: This meta-analysis was conducted to systematically review the efficacy and safety of the H-Wave (Electronic Waveform Lab, Inc, Huntington Beach, CA, USA) device and programme as a non-pharmacological analgesic treatment in chronic soft tissue inflammation and neuropathic pain.
Methods: Five studies related to pain relief, reduction in pain medication and increased functionality obtained with the H-Wave device were included in the analysis. Data were analysed using the random effects model, including adjustment to evaluate variability, size of study and bias in effect size. A total of 6535 participants were included in the meta-analysis; there were 8065 participants' outcomes measured due to multiple measurements per participant.
Results: The H-Wave device decreased pain ratings across various chronic soft tissue inflammation and neuropathic pain conditions. The mean weighted effect size was 0.59, and the estimated effect size variance was 0.00003 (95% confidence intervals [CI]: 0.580, 0.600). The H-Wave device also decreased the intake of pain medication in patients with various chronic soft tissue inflammation and neuropathic pain conditions. The mean weighted effect size was 0.56, and the estimated effect size variance was 0.000013 (95% CI: 0.553, 0.567). Patient functionality was also improved with use of the H-Wave device. The mean weighted effect size was 0.70, and the estimated effect size variance was 0.00002 (95% CI: 0.691, 0.709). A chi-square test for homogeneous effect sizes found highly significant (P<0.00001) variability, indicating a robust significant effect size for increased functionality relative to both pain relief and reduction in pain medication. There was little to no evidence of any adverse effects associated with the use of the H-Wave device.
Conclusion: The findings indicate a moderate to strong effect of the H-Wave device in providing pain relief, reducing the requirement for pain medication and increasing functionality. The most robust effect was observed for improved functionality, suggesting that the H-Wave device may facilitate a quicker return to work and other related daily activities.