Objective: The objective of this study was to compare the hypoalgesic effects of isolated or combined use of transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) and cervical joint manipulation (JM) in asymptomatic participants.
Methods: One hundred and forty-four healthy participants aged 18 to 30 years old were randomly assigned to 1 of 4 groups (n = 36 per group): active TENS + active JM, active TENS + placebo JM, placebo TENS + active JM, and placebo TENS + placebo JM. Active or placebo TENS was applied to the dominant forearm. JM was applied to the C6-7 segments. The pressure pain threshold was measured pre- and postintervention and after 20 minutes on the forearm and tibialis anterior of the dominant side.
Results: Segmental hypoalgesia was greater in the group active TENS + active JM compared with active TENS + placebo JM (P = .002), placebo TENS + active JM (P < .0001), and placebo TENS + placebo JM (P < .0001). For the extrasegmental hypoalgesia, active TENS + active JM had greater hypoalgesic effect compared with active TENS + placebo JM (P = .033), placebo TENS + active JM (P = .002), and placebo TENS + placebo JM (P < .0001).
Conclusion: TENS and JM produced hypoalgesia when used alone and, when the treatments were combined, a higher segmental and extrasegmental hypoalgesic effect was obtained in asymptomatic participants.
Author keywords: Musculoskeletal Manipulations; Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulation; Pain Threshold; Neck; Spine
Author affiliations: JDT, MAGS, ACdSC: Catholic Salesian University Center Auxilium - Lins, São Paulo, Brazil; EPR, REL: Federal University of São Carlos-UFSCar, São Carlos/São Paulo, Brazil
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