Pain and soreness associated with a percutaneous electrical stimulation muscle cramping protocol

Kevin C. Miller, Kenneth L. Knight

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations

Abstract

Muscle cramps are difficult to study scientifically because of their spontaneity and unpredictability. Various laboratory techniques to induce muscle cramps have been explored but the best technique for inducing cramps is unclear. Electrical stimulation appears to be the most reliable, but there is a perception that it is extremely painful. Data to support this perception are lacking. We hypothesized that electrical stimulation is a tolerable method of inducing cramps with few side effects. We measured cramp frequency (Hz), pain during electrical stimulation, and soreness before, at 5 s, and 30, 60, and 90 min after cramp induction using a 100-mm visual analog scale. Group 1 received tibial nerve stimulation on 5 consecutive days; Group 2 received it on alternate days for five total treatments. Pain and soreness were mild. The highest ratings occurred on Day 1 and decreased thereafter. Intersession reliability was high. Our study showed that electrical stimulation causes little pain or soreness and is a reliable method for inducing cramps.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)711-714
Number of pages4
JournalMuscle and Nerve
Volume36
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2007

Keywords

  • Accommodation
  • Reliability, threshold frequency
  • Visual analog scale

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