Response of plasma beta-endorphins to transcutaneous electrical stimulation in healthy subjects

Physical Therapy (Impact Factor: 2.53). 08/1984; 64(7):1062-6.
Source: PubMed


A study of 31 healthy volunteers was done to test the hypothesis that analgesia produced by low frequency/high intensity (LoF/Hil) transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) is mediated by release of beta-endorphin (beta-E). After randomization, Group 1 (n = 10) received no stimulation (placebo); Group 2 (n = 9) received 30 minutes of high frequency/low intensity (HiF/Lol) TENS; and Group 3 (n = 12) received 30 minutes of low frequency/high density (LoF/Hil) TENS. Blood pressure, pulse, plasma beta-E levels, and evoked potential response were measured before and after treatment. Mean plasma beta-E increased with treatment in Groups 2 and 3 and fell in Group 1, but the difference between the groups was not statistically significant. Sixty-seven percent of Groups 2 and 3 showed an increase in plasma beta-E levels compared with 30 percent in Group 1 (two-sample test of proportions, p less than .05). Evoked potential response, a measure of pain threshold, varied directly with plasma beta-E level independent of the type of treatment applied. This study did not demonstrate a difference between the effects of HiF/Lol versus Lof/Hil TENS on plasma beta-E in healthy subjects.

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Available from: Peter R Lichstein
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    • "The system visualizes and analyzes the data to locate areas of low impedance compared with surrounding areas, thus indicating ATPs appropriate for hyperstimulation (Figure 3). Therapeutic neurostimulation, using modulated, intense electrical pulses, is then applied locally to specific painful ATPs, providing highly effective pain relief by stimulating the release of endorphins.31–34 "
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    ABSTRACT: Low back pain in patients with myofascial pain syndrome is characterized by painful active myofascial trigger points (ATPs) in muscles. This article reviews a novel, noninvasive modality that combines simultaneous imaging and treatment, thus taking advantage of the electrodermal information available from imaged ATPs to deliver localized neurostimulation, to stimulate peripheral nerve endings (Aδ fibers) and in turn, to release endogenous endorphins. "Hyperstimulation analgesia" with localized, intense, low-rate electrical pulses applied to painful ATPs was found to be effective in 95% patients with chronic nonspecific low back pain, in a clinical validation study.
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    • "TENS is assumed to trigger an opioid-mediated suppression of dorsal horn neurons through the concerted activation of the periaqueductal gray and the rostral ventral medulla [76]. For example, the concentrations of β-endorphins have been shown to increase in the bloodstream and cerebrospinal fluid of healthy subjects after administration of either high (101–108 Hz) or low (4–7 Hz) frequency TENS [77, 78]. The application of various TENS protocols in adult, healthy subjects lead to a significant increase of PPTs, with continuous high-frequency stimulations (80 Hz) being more effective in increasing PPTs [79]. "
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    • "The rectangular waveform is claimed to be the typical delivery mode of electrical stimulation [60] [61] [62] while preserving " the essential features of Nemec's original design " [63]. The choice of 4 Hz as the treatment frequency was based on previous studies in TENS that demonstrated the low frequency stimulates BEND release [27] [35] [64] [65]. Also, the choice of 20 minutes as treatment time was based on previous research in TENS that demonstrated BEND was released following this application time [28] [38] [40]. "
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