Effects of waveform on comfort during neuromuscular electrical stimulation

Clin Orthop Relat Res. 1988 Aug;(233):75-85.


Electrical stimulation is a commonly used clinical tool, but subject and patient comfort is still a major problem retarding its widespread application. Stimulus waveform in combination with pulse duration can play a major part in subject comfort. An asymmetric balanced biphasic square waveform was perceived as comfortable and was clinically effective in stimulating wrist flexor and extensor muscles. Subjects preferred the square waveforms over a paired spike monophasic waveform. In the larger quadriceps muscle group, a symmetric biphasic square wave was perceived as more comfortable than either a monophasic paired spike or any of three medium frequency waveforms. There seemed to be, however, a small subpopulation of subjects who consistently preferred the medium frequency waveforms. Medium frequency stimulation should be tried for those patients who have considerable difficulty adapting to the sensory input inherent with the use of surface electrical stimulation.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy / adverse effects
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy / methods*
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Neuromuscular Junction
  • Sensation