TENS plus task-related training in stroke patients

Researchers from The Hong Kong Polytechnic University report that the combination is better than either treatment alone.

First, the details.

  • 88 chronic stroke survivors were assigned randomly to one of 4 treatments 5 days a week for 4 weeks
  • TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation)
  • TENS+TRT (task-related training)
  • Placebo TENS+TRT
  • No treatment

TENS is a technique where mild electric currents are applied to some areas of the skin by a small power pack.

And, the results with TENS+TRT.

  • Significantly greater improvement in ankle dorsiflexion torque (bending the ankle upward) and in ankle plantarflexion torque (pointing the foot down) vs TENS
  • Significantly earlier and greater reduction of plantarflexor spasticity and improvement in ankle dorsiflexion torque vs placebo+TRT.
  • Significantly greater improvement in gait velocity (speed of a person’s walk) vs the other groups.

The bottom line?
The authors concluded, “In patients with chronic stroke, 20 sessions of a combined TENS+TRT home-based program decreased plantarflexor spasticity, improved dorsiflexor and plantarflexor strength, and increased gait velocity significantly.”

And, the improvements were maintained 4 weeks after treatment ended.

11/18/07 17:58 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.