A comparison of the effects of electroacupuncture vs transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation for pain control in knee osteoarthritis: A protocol for network meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

Medicine (Baltimore). 2019 Jul;98(28):e16265. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000016265.


Background: Knee osteoarthritis (KOA), the most common type of osteoarthritis, is a chronic degenerative joint disease accompanied by pain and functional limitation for the elderly. The 2 nonpharmacologic approaches, electroacupuncture (EA) and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), are considered beneficial in relieving KOA pain, however, the current conclusions are controversial. Furthermore, no direct or indirect meta-analyses between EA and TENS have been reported for the pain relief of KOA patients.

Methods: PubMed, EMBASE, Cochrane library, Web of Science, CNKI, VIP, Wan Fang will be systematically searched their inception to May 2018. Randomized controlled trials that compared the effect of EA and TENS on pain control in knee osteoarthritis will be included. The primary outcome was the knee pain levels, and secondary outcome was the comprehensive indicators. Risk of bias assessment of the included studies will be performed according to the Cochrane risk of bias tool. The pairwise and network meta-analysis will be performed by STATA 14.0 software.

Results: This study is ongoing and will be submitted to a peer-reviewed journal for publication.

Conclusion: This study will provide comprehensive evidence on the effects of EA and TENS for pain control in knee osteoarthritis.

Prospero registration number: CRD42018091826.

MeSH terms

  • Arthralgia / therapy*
  • Electroacupuncture*
  • Humans
  • Network Meta-Analysis
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / complications*
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / therapy
  • Pain Management / methods
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Research Design
  • Systematic Reviews as Topic*
  • Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulation*