The aim of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to analyze the available information regarding the efficacy of IFC in the management of musculoskeletal pain.mRandomized controlled trials were obtained through a computerized search of bibliographic databases (ie, CINAHL, Cochrane Library, EMBASE, MEDLINE, PEDro, Scopus, and Web of Science) from 1950 to February 8, 2010.mTwo independent reviewers screened the abstracts found in the databases. Methodological quality was assessed using a compilation of items included in different scales related to rehabilitation research. The mean difference, with 95% confidence interval, was used to quantify the pooled effect. A chi-square test for heterogeneity was performed. A total of 2,235 articles were found. Twenty studies fulfilled the inclusion criteria. Seven articles assessed the use of IFC on joint pain; 9 articles evaluated the use of IFC on muscle pain; 3 articles evaluated its use on soft tissue shoulder pain; and 1 article examined its use on postoperative pain. Three of the 20 studies were considered to be of high methodological quality, 14 studies were considered to be of moderate methodological quality, and 3 studies were considered to be of poor methodological quality. Fourteen studies were included in the meta-analysis.
Interferential current as a supplement to another intervention seems to be more effective for reducing pain than a control treatment at discharge and more effective than a placebo treatment at the 3-month follow-up. However, it is unknown whether the analgesic effect of IFC is superior to that of the concomitant interventions. Interferential current alone was not significantly better than placebo or other therapy at discharge or follow-up.
Jorge P. Fuentes, Susan Armijo Olivo, David J. Magee and Douglas P. Gross. Effectiveness of Interferential Current Therapy in the Management of Musculoskeletal Pain: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Physical Therapy, Vol. 90, No. 9, September 2010, pp. 1219-1238