Electric pulse frequency and magnitude of perceived sensation during electrocutaneous forearm stimulation

Herbert Jelinek, Rowan McIntyre

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: Electrocutaneous stimulation is commonly used in clinical practice as a pain relieving treatment. This study investigated the effect that electric pulse frequency has on the perceived magnitude of sensation and quantified the relationship between electric pulse frequency and perceived magnitude of sensation during low intensity electrocutaneous stimulation. Design: Repeated measures research design was applied to evaluate the effect of electric pulse frequency on the perceived magnitude of electrocutaneous stimulation.Setting: Electrocutaneous agents laboratory.Participants: Twenty-six participants were recruited for the study.Interventions: Electrocutaneous stimulation was applied to the forearm, at ten different electric pulse frequencies.Main Outcome Measures: A cross-modality matching (CMM) procedure was used where stimulation intensity was matched with the level of loudness. Pair-wise comparisons with 2 degrees of freedom at a power of 80% was performed. Statistical significance was set at p =0.05.Results: Electric pulse frequency had a significant effect on the perceived magnitude of sensation, with the perceived sensation growing between 0-120Hz (F = 36.02; p < 0.001). The relationship between the two variables showed a strong relationship (r2 = 0.99, p < 0.01). Conclusion: Increasing the electric pulse frequency of electrocutaneous stimulation increases the perceived magnitude of the resulting sensation. This has implications for the use of electrocutaneous stimulation for both analgesia and muscle stimulation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1378-1382
Number of pages5
JournalArchives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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