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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2015, Article ID 327486, 10 pages
Research Article

The Effects of High-Frequency Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation for Dental Professionals with Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders: A Single-Blind Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial

1Department of Physiology, College of Medicine and Neuroscience Research Institute, Korea University, Seoul 02841, Republic of Korea
2The Post-Professional DPT Program, Stockton University, Galloway, NJ 08205-9441, USA
3Department of Dental Hygiene, Gachon University College of Health Science, Incheon 21936, Republic of Korea

Received 13 August 2015; Accepted 15 October 2015

Academic Editor: Morry Silberstein

Copyright © 2015 Hye Rim Suh et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Work-related musculoskeletal symptom disorders (WMSDs) have a significant issue for dental professionals. This study investigated the effects of high-frequency transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) on work-related pain, fatigue, and the active range of motion in dental professionals. Among recruited 47 dental professionals with WMSDs, 24 subjects received high-frequency TENS (the TENS group), while 23 subjects received placebo stimulation (the placebo group). TENS was applied to the muscle trigger points of the levator scapulae and upper trapezius, while placebo-TENS was administered without electrical stimulation during 60 min. Pain and fatigue at rest and during movement were assessed using the visual analog scale (VAS), pain pressure threshold (PPT), and active range of motion (AROM) of horizontal head rotation at six time points: prelabor, postlabor, post-TENS, and at 1 h, 3 h, and 1 day after TENS application. Both groups showed significantly increased pain and fatigue and decreased PPT and AROM after completing a work task. The TENS group showed significantly greater improvements in VAS score, fatigue, PPT, and AROM at post-TENS and at 1 h and 3 h after application (all P < 0.05) as compared to the placebo group. A single session high-frequency TENS may immediately reduce symptoms related to WMSDs in dental professionals.