Effects of auricular transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation on distal extremity pain: A pilot study

Academic Article


  • The purpose of this pilot study was to determine the effectiveness of auricular acupuncture-like transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation on pain. Fifteen subjects (6 men, 9 women) experiencing distal extremity pain received either one placebo pill or a 10-minute treatment of acupuncture-like TENS bilaretally to five acupuncture points on the auricle. Pain levels were measured before treatment and at 0, 10, and 30 minutes posttreatment using the visual analogue scale (VAS) asnd the pain rating index (PRI) of the McGill Pain Questionnaire. The VAS showed no statistically significant differences between Experimental Group (n = 8) and Control Group (n = 7) means at pretreatment or posttreatment; however, both groups showed a redution in VAS means over time. The Experimental and Control Group means on the PRI were significantly different (p < .05) at all three posttreatment measurements, but not at pretreatment baseline measurement. These results suggest that auricular acupuncture-like TENS could be an alternative for relief of distal extremity pain. Additional clinical studies are necessary to validate the results of this study.
  • Authors

    Published In

  • Physical Therapy  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Longobardi AG; Clelland JA; Knowles CJ; Jackson JR
  • Start Page

  • 10
  • End Page

  • 17
  • Volume

  • 69
  • Issue

  • 1