PURPOSE: This study examined the influence of treadmill exercise with initial pain control using transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) on induced pain of knee osteoarthritis in rats.
METHODS: Thirty adult male Sprague - Dawley rats were divided randomly into the TENS Group (TG, n = 10), Treadmill Exercise Group (TEG, n = 10), and Treadmill with TENS Group (TTG, n = 10). In the TG, TENS was performed for 20 min per day for two weeks with a TENS program at the knee joint. The TEG performed treadmill exercise 15 m/min for 20 min per day for two weeks. The TTG performed initial pain control by TENS program during the 1st ~ 3rd days, and treadmill exercise was performed using the TEG methods from the 4th day. The lumbar spine was extracted and processed using western blot analysis to evaluate pain (c-fos expression).
RESULTS: The results showed that c-fos expression wasdecreased significantly in all groups after each intervention (p < .05). In particular, TTG produced the most significant decrease compared to the other groups.
CONCLUSION: These results suggest that treadmill exercise with initial pain control using TENS is a suitable method for relieving pain in knee osteoarthritis.