Auto-targeted neurostimulation is not superior to placebo in chronic low back pain : a fourfold blind randomized clinical trial
Ferrandiz, Maria Encarnacion Aguilar
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
, p. E707-E719
University of Antwerp
Background: Myofascial trigger points (MTrPs) are common in people with musculoskeletal pain and may play a role in chronic nonspecific low back pain (CLBP). One of the potential treatments of MTrPs is the Nervomatrix Soleve (R) auto-targeted neurostimulation device, providing targeted transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) to MTrPs in the lower back muscles. To date, no controlled studies have evaluated the effectiveness of this device for the pain management of this population. Objective: To examine whether the Nervomatrix Soleve (R) auto-targeted neurostimulation device is superior over placebo for the treatment of CLBP. Study Design: A fourfold-blind randomized controlled trial was conducted. Setting: Brussels University Hospital, health care centers and pharmacies around Belgium. Methods: Participants with CLBP for at least 3 months were randomly assigned to the experimental (the Nervomatrix Soleve (R) auto-targeted neurostimulation device providing TENS-stimulation and mechanical pressure) or placebo group (the Nervomatrix Soleve (R) auto-targeted neurostimulation device providing mechanical pressure alone without current). The treatment protocol in both groups consisted of 6 treatment sessions per patient. Participants were evaluated at baseline prior to the intervention, immediately following treatment, and at one month follow-up. Pain and pain behavior (steps climbed) were assessed as primary outcome measures. Secondary outcome measures were pain functioning, health beliefs, symptoms of central sensitization, pain catastrophizing, and kinesiophobia. Results: In total, 39 participants were included in the study. Participants in both groups improved significantly for pain and functioning, but no significant differences were observed between groups. These improvements were not clinically meaningful for any of the reported measures. The health beliefs changed significantly in both groups (P < 0.05), with superior results at follow-up in the placebo group. Limitations: The follow-up period is limited to one month. Conclusions: Treatment of MTrPs with the Nervomatrix Soleve (R) auto-targeted neurostimulation device in patients with CLBP does not result in a better outcome than placebo-treatment in terms of pain, pain behavior, functioning, central sensitization, pain catastrophizing, and health beliefs.