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Functional Electrical Stimulation

Table 20 FES Post-SCI Pain

Author Year

PEDro Score
Research Design
Total Sample Size

Wilbanks et al. 2016




Population: Mean age=47.0±12.0 yr; Gender: males=8, females=2; Time since injury=18.0±14.0 yr; Level of injury: all T; Severity of injury: AIS A=5, B=2, C=3, D=0; Type of pain=musculoskeletal.

Intervention: Participants engaged in 30 min of functional electrical stimulation (FES) rowing 3 days/wk for 6 wks for a total of 18 sessions.

Outcome Measures: VO2peak (FES-rowing and UBE conditions), distance rowed, arm power output, wheelchair user shoulder pain index (WUSPI), body composition, body weight, thigh lean mass, upper extremity strength, muscle activity, quality of life (QOL-SCI), participation (LIFE-H), and qualitative exit interview.

1.     Significantly reduced WUSPI scores (p=0.002).


One pre-post trial found 30 minutes of FES rowing over 6 weeks resulted in significant reduction shoulder related pain post SCI.


There is limited level 4 evidence (Wilbanks et al. 2016) that FES improves shoulder pain post SCI.

FES may improve musculoskeletal shoulder pain post SCI