Effects of Electric Stimulation on C and A Delta Fiber-Mediated Thermal Perception Thresholds

Shea T. Palmer, Denis J. Martin, Wilma M. Steedman, John Ravey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

32 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: To determine if interferential current (IFC) or transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation (TENS) alters C and A delta fiber-mediated thermal perception thresholds. Design: Single-blind, randomized controlled trial. Setting: Laboratory. Participants: One hundred forty healthy women volunteers (mean age ± standard deviation, 20.6±2.7y). Interventions: Subjects were randomly and exclusively assigned to 1 of 7 groups (n=20 in each): 0, 5, and 100Hz of IFC; 5 and 100Hz of TENS; placebo and control stimulation. Stimulation was applied through 2 electrodes placed over the median nerve. Warm sensation, cold sensation, hot pain, and cold pain perception thresholds were measured from the thenar eminence by using a quantitative sensory testing device and a method of limits algorithm. Main Outcome Measures: Warm sensation, cold sensation, hot pain, and cold pain thresholds (°C) before, during, and after stimulation. Results: There was a statistically significant effect of time for all 4 thermal perception thresholds (separate 2-way analyses of variance with repeated measures, all P<.001). There were no statistically significant differences between experimental groups, nor any interaction effects (all P>.05). Conclusions: Neither IFC nor TENS altered C and A delta fiber-mediated thermal perception thresholds. The results suggest that any analgesic mechanisms with these modalities are likely to be complex.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-128
Number of pages10
JournalArchives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Volume85
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2004

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