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Revista Brasileira de Anestesiologia

Print version ISSN 0034-7094

Abstract

TONELLA, Rodrigo Marques; ARAUJO, Sebastião  and  SILVA, Áurea Maria Oliveira da. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation in the relief of pain related to physical therapy after abdominal surgery. Rev. Bras. Anestesiol. [online]. 2006, vol.56, n.6, pp. 630-642. ISSN 0034-7094.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0034-70942006000600007.

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: There are few studies on transcutaneous electrical stimulation (TENS) as an adjunct to postoperative physical therapy. The objective of this study was to determine the efficacy of TENS on relieving pain related to physical therapy after abdominal surgery. METHODS: A clinical, randomized, prospective study was undertaken with 48 patients on the first postoperative day, who presented a pain score > 3 on the visual analogic scale (VAS). Patients were divided in three groups: Control Group: treated with the usual analgesic routine, without TENS, and with physical therapy; Study Group: treated with the usual analgesic routine associated with TENS and physical therapy; Contrast-Placebo Group: treated with the usual analgesic routine associated with physical therapy but TENS was off. A visual analogic scale of pain was presented to the patients before (M1), after TENS (M2), and after physical therapy (M3) - cough, incentive spirometry, changing lateral decubitus and sitting - to quantify the efficacy of the analgesia. Electrical stimulation was done during 30 minutes. RESULTS: The Study Group presented a significant relief of the pain when compared to the other two groups only for coughing at M3 (p= 0.015). In this group, there was a significant reduction in pain associated with coughing (p= 0.003) [M1 versus M3]; with lateral decubitus (p= 0.025), sitting (p= 0.001), and with incentive spirometry (p= 0.017) [M1 versus M2]; and when changing to the lateral decubitus (p= 0.03) and sitting (p= 0.001) [M1xM3]. There were no significant differences in the Contrast-Placebo Group. CONCLUSIONS: The Study Group presented a reduction in pain in a few moments and parameters. Further studies are needed since TENS is indicated only as an adjuvant in controlling postoperative pain.

Keywords : ANALGESIA [transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation]; PAIN, Acute [postoperative]; SURGERY, Abdominal.

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