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Keele Researcher Investigates a Treatment for Tennis Elbow

Professor Elaine Hay, Research Institute for Primary Care and Health Sciences at Keele University in Staffordshire, has been awarded £235,000 by the National Institute for Health Research under the Research for Patient Benefit Programme for a three year project aimed finding an effective treatment for tennis elbow.

Tennis elbow is a common, and often extremely painful musculoskeletal condition but systematic reviews conclude that there is no clear and effective treatment for symptoms of pain in the first six weeks. Whilst corticosteroid injections offer short term pain relief, this treatment is unpleasant and is used with caution due to an associated high risk of recurrence of pain in the long term. There is a clear need for an intervention that is acceptable to patients and provides them with effective short-term pain relief without increasing the risk of recurrences.

Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) is an inexpensive, non-invasive and non-pharmacological form of analgesia that is commonly used in the treatment of pain. This study aims: to assess the effectiveness of a self-management package of treatment that includes TENS compared with “usual care”; investigate the outcomes at six and 12 months and investigate secondary outcomes.

The study, titled “TENS for tennis elbow”, will be a two-arm pragmatic randomized controlled trial involving 240 adults presenting to GP’s with a new episode of tennis elbow. Patients randomized to the intervention arm of the study will be instructed how to apply a TENS machine to achieve optimal analgesic effect. Outcomes will be measured at baseline, six weeks, six and 12 months.

Chris Stone | alfa
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