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Pain Management

Evidence Of Microcurrent Therapy's Effectiveness In Pain Management

A recent review of the published literature identified n=17 studies that were of sufficient quality to merit inclusion (8x RCTs; 3x case studies/case series; 2x cohort studies; 2x controlled studies; 1x cross over study and 1x retrospective analysis) [1-17]. Microcurrent Therapy was deemed effective in 13 of the 17 publications (76%), employing 95% of all trial participants (n=2335), who reported a significant effect in terms of pain relief and pain perception. The ineffective trials were references 1, 6, 7 and 17. The clinical conditions treated in these 17 studies included, 2x chronic lower back pain; 2x mixed chronic pain syndromes; 2x pain secondary to radiotherapy or cancer surgery; mixed chronic neuromuscular back and neck pain; carpal tunnel; diabetic neuropathy; chronic periodontitis; orthodontic pain and groin strain.

Since this review of the literature (2015), two additional pain relevant studies have been published, involving 118 patients with either chronic neck pain or lateral elbow tendinopathy. Both studies provided significant pain relief and are consistent with the other publications in this section. The majority of these publications reported no significant adverse or unwanted effects as a result of the application of Microcurrent Therapy. There were some reports of minor skin irritation in one publication, but it is important to note that participants in this study were wearing the device 24/7.

Overall, in relation to clinical pain issues, there is more supportive published evidence than evidence suggesting an ineffective treatment. On balance, Microcurrent based therapy has supportive evidence of effectiveness across a wide range of clinical pain presentations. The ‘stimulation' parameters from the effective studies were identified in a dose/response analysis and fell into what is now considered to be an effective range.

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1. Lee JW, Yoon SW, Kim TH, Park SJ. The effects of microcurrents on inflammatory reaction induced by ultraviolet irradiation. Journal of Physical Therapy Science. 2011;23(4):693-6.
2. Lennox AJ, Shafer JP, Hatcher M, Beil J, Funder SJ. Pilot study of impedance-controlled microcurrent therapy for managing radiation-induced fibrosis in head-and-neck cancer patients. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2002;54(1):23-34.
3. Yuill EA, Pajaczkowski JA, Howitt SD. Conservative care of sports hernias within soccer players: a case series. J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2012;16(4):540-8.
4. Atkinson M. Pain Ease microcurrent therapy treatment in subjects with period pain (dysmenorrhoea).
5. Bauer W. Electrical treatment of severe head and neck cancer pain. Arch Otolaryngol. 1983;109(6):382-3.
6. Gossrau G, Wahner M, Kuschke M, Konrad B, Reichmann H, Wiedemann B, et al. Microcurrent transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation in painful diabetic neuropathy: a randomized placebo-controlled study. Pain Med. 2011;12(6):953-60.
7. Johnson MI, Penny P, Sajawal MA. An examination of the analgesic effects of microcurrent electrical stimulation (MES) on cold-induced pain in healthy subjects. Physiotherapy Theory and Practice. 1997;13(4):293-301.
8. Koopman JS, Vrinten DH, van Wijck AJ. Efficacy of microcurrent therapy in the treatment of chronic nonspecific back pain: a pilot study. Clin J Pain. 2009;25(6):495-9.
9. Lerner FN, Kirsch DL. A double blind comparative study of micro-stimulation and placebo effect in short term treatment of the chronic back pain patient. ACA Journal of Chiropractic. 1981;15:101-6.
10. McMakin CR. Microcurrent therapy: a novel treatment method for chronic low back myofascial pain. Journal of Bodywork & Movement Therapies. 2004;8(2):143-53.
11. Naeser MA, Hahn KA, Lieberman BE, Branco KF. Carpal tunnel syndrome pain treated with low-level laser and microamperes transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation: A controlled study. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2002;83(7):978-88.
12. Noto K, Grant P. Comparative study of micro-amperage neural stimulation and conventional physical therapy modalities. online access. 2009.
13. Park RJ, Son H, Kim K, Kim S, Oh T. The effect of microcurrent electrical stimulation on the foot blood circulation and pain of diabetic neuropathy. Journal of Physical Therapy Science. 2011;23(3):515-8.
14. Puhar I, Kapudija A, Kasaj A, Willershausen B, Zafiropoulos GG, Bosnjak A, et al. Efficacy of electrical neuromuscular stimulation in the treatment of chronic periodontitis. Journal of Periodontal and Implant Science. 2011;41(3):117-22.
15. Roth PM, Thrash WJ. Effect of transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation for controlling pain associated with orthodontic tooth movement. Am J Orthod Dentofacial Orthop. 1986;90(2):132-8.
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17. Tan G, Monga T, Thornby J. Electromedicine. Efficacy of microcurrent electrical stimulation on pain severity, psychological distress, and disability. Am J Pain Manage. 2000;10(1):35-44.