Objective: To compare the immediate analgesic effect of transcutaneous nerve stimulation (TENS) and interferential current (IFC), with different combinations of parameters, in individuals with chronic low back pain (CLBP).
Methodology: 280 individuals with CLBP were included in the study, both genders, randomized in 8 groups: GI2KHz/100Hz, GI2KHz/2Hz, GI4KHz/100Hz, GI4KHz/2Hz, placebo interferential group (GIP), GT100Hz, GT2Hz, and placebo TENS group (GTP). All individuals underwent a single application of TENS or IFC for 30min. The assessments were carried out prior to the intervention, as well as immediately after, with the following outcomes: pain intensity (Numeric Pain Rating Scale-NPRS), qualitative pain characteristics (McGill Pain Questionnaire-MPQ), and pressure pain threshold (PPT) by pressure algometry (PA) in 4 points of the low back region.
Results: In the intergroup comparison of NPRS, all intervention groups showed greater pain reduction compared to GTP (p < 0.05). In the total MPQ score, the groups that obtained significant results (p < 0.05) when compared to GTP were GT100Hz and GT2Hz, while the groups GT100Hz and GI4KHz/100Hz were significant when compared to GIP. In the PA, GI4KHz/100Hz showed an increase in the PPT in all points compared to GTP and GI2KHz/100Hz.
Conclusion: Both TENS and IFC presented immediate analgesic effect in CLBP, with emphasis on the interferential current of 4 KHz modulated at 100Hz.
Keywords: Analgesia; Chronic pain; Electrical stimulation therapy; Low back pain.
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