Effect of high frequency TENS on cold hyperalgesia induced by topical menthol in healthy subjects
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The primary aim of this study was to determine the effect of high frequency Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) on cold sensory function following topical application of menthol. Quantitative sensory testing was used to determine cold sensation and cold pain thresholds before and after topical application of a 40% menthol solution in 9 male and 11 female subjects. In a separate session the effect of TENS (100 HZ, constant pulse, 100µs, 20 minutes) was determined on menthol-induced cold sensation. Menthol produced a distinct cold hyperalgesia which was significantly reduced during the application of high frequency TENS. The analgesic effect of TENS persisted beyond the application period for at least 20 minutes. Menthol also reduced cold detection thresholds but TENS had no effect on this aspect of cold sensation. These data support the use of TENS as a means of treating cold hyperalgesia such as that found in neuropathic pain states.