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Electrical stimulation in the treatment of hemiplegic shoulder pain: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials
Qiu H, Li J, Zhou T, Wang H, Li J
American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation 2019 Apr;98(4):280-286
systematic review

OBJECTIVE: The aim of the study was to determine the effect of electrical stimulation in the treatment of hemiplegic shoulder pain. DESIGN: Eight databases were systematically searched for randomized controlled trials with a treatment duration of at least 2 wks comparing electrical stimulation with sham stimulation or no stimulation for patients with hemiplegic shoulder pain. Shoulder pain on the hemiplegic side after stroke at baseline was required at study selection. The overall effects of electrical stimulation were calculated using a meta-analytic method. RESULTS: Six studies were included. The pooled data indicated that electrical stimulation may have a positive effect for patients with hemiplegic shoulder pain on pain reduction (n = 193, standardized mean difference -1.89, 95% confidence interval -3.05 to -0.74) and pain-free external rotation (n = 164, weighted mean difference 18.92, 95% confidence interval 7.00 to 30.84). Meta-analysis also showed better recovery of activities of daily living independence in patient groups receiving electrical stimulation (n = 167, weighted mean difference 8.96, 95% confidence interval 5.26 to 12.66). CONCLUSIONS: Electrical stimulation may be an effective pain management methodology for hemiplegic shoulders and may contribute to pain-free range of external rotation as well as activities of daily living recovery. However, these results should be interpreted with caution, given the low number of selected studies and risk of potential bias.

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