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Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation

Neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) has been reported to improve several pain conditions, such as back pain, shoulder pain, wrist pain, knee pain.

Table 19 NMES Post-SCI Pain

Author Year

PEDro Score
Research Design
Total Sample Size

Chen et al. 2018




Population: NMES+carbamazepine group: Mean age=41.8±12.6 yr; Gender: males=25, females=2; Time since injury=31.2±11.5 mo; Level of injury: C=12, T=13, L=2; Severity of injury: AIS A=16, B=3, C=5, D=3; Type of pain=neuropathic.

Carbamazepine group: Mean age=43.5±13.7 yr; Gender: males=23, females=4; Time since injury=29.7±10.8 mo; Level of injury: C=14, T=10, L=3; Severity of injury: AIS A=18, B=2, C=3, D=4; Type of pain=neuropathic.

Intervention: Participants were assigned to either an NMES + carbamazepine group or a carbamazepine only group for 3 mo of treatment with outcomes measures at baseline and post-intervention.

Outcome Measures: Pain intensity numerical rating scale (NRS), quality of life (QOL) sort form 36 (SF-36) scale, and adverse events.

*Neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES), neuropathic pain (NPP)

1.     No significant difference in NRS for NPP or the QOL in SF-36 in the NMES group (p>0.05).

2.     No serious adverse events in either group.


In an RCT, Chen and colleagues (2018) found that combined NMES and carbamazepine was equally as effective at reducing pain intensity compared to carbamazepine alone.


There is level 2 evidence (Chen et al. 2018) that NMES combined with carbamazepine is no more effective than carbamazepine alone in improving pain post SCI.

Combined NMES and carbamazepine is no more effective than carbamazepine alone for SCI pain.