A treatment involving electrical nerve stimulation helped women with fibromyalgia in a recent clinical trial. The findings are published in Arthritis & Rheumatology.
Fibromyalgia is characterized by pain and fatigue, particularly during physical activity. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) delivers electrical currents through the skin to activate nerve pathways in the body that inhibit pain.
In this trial, TENS resulted in significant improvements in movement-related pain and fatigue compared with placebo or no TENS.
The TENS treatment was given along with standard treatments for fibromyalgia. Thus, it can provide people with a tool to help manage pain and fatigue without taking additional pain medications.
"TENS is available over the counter, is inexpensive, and is safe and easy to use," said senior author Kathleen A. Sluka, PT, PhD, FAPTA, of the University of Iowa. "It can provide a self-management option for people with chronic pain, particularly fibromyalgia, to provide an additional level of pain relief.