TENS and heat therapy for pain relief and quality of life improvement in individuals with primary dysmenorrhea: A systematic review

Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2016 Aug:24:86-91. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2016.05.001. Epub 2016 May 7.


The present systematic review aimed to synthesize evidence for the effectiveness of TENS and heat therapy interventions from randomized trials. Six relevant databases were searched for studies on TENS and heat therapy for primary dysmenorrhea. Menstrual pain intensity and quality of life were the primary and secondary outcomes respectively. The search yielded 46 citations from which six studies on TENS and three studies on heat therapy were systematically reviewed. On the PEDRO quality scale, the trials methodological quality was 4.8 out of 10 for TENS and 6.3 out of 10 for heat therapy. TENS and heat therapy both showed evidence of pain reduction, but no study included quality of life as an outcome. Meta-analysis was not possible due to substantial heterogeneity in included studies. TENS and heat therapy show potential as adjunct remedies in the management of primary dysmenorrhea, but rigorous high quality trials are still needed to made conclusive recommendation.

Keywords: Heat therapy; Primary dsymenorrhea; TENS; TENS therapy; ínfra-red therapy.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Dysmenorrhea / therapy*
  • Female
  • Hot Temperature*
  • Humans
  • Pain Management / methods*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulation*