Comparison of the effectiveness of electrolysis and microelectrolysis in the treatment of musculoskeletal pain: a systematic review

Hernán Andrés De la Barra Ortiz, Rodrigo Chandía Castillo, Megan Denton Zarraonandia, Isadora Ruiz Cáceres, Vania Rojas Ramírez

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Introduction. Musculoskeletal pain (MSP) is a frequent reason for consultation; its high prevalence is a concern. Recently, different electrolysis modalities have appeared to reduce MSP, although studies supporting their use and comparing them are limited. This study compared the effectiveness of electrolysis modalities in MSP treatment. Methods. The PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science, CINAHL, and ScienceDirect electronic databases were searched for randomized clinical trials (RCTs) (last update: September 4, 2020). Three independent researchers reviewed titles and abstracts to determine article eligibility. Risk of bias and quality were assessed with the Cochrane risk of bias tool and the PEDro scale. Pain reduction was the main outcome and changes in range of motion or disability/functionality constituted secondary results. Results. Overall, 15 RCTs were obtained after eliminating duplicates and applying the selection criteria. Musculoskeletal conditions treated with electrolysis or microelectrolysis included myofascial pain (n = 3), patellar tendinopathy (n = 2), plantar fasciitis (n = 2), pubalgia (n = 1), subacromial impingement (n = 3), epicondylitis (n = 1), calcaneal tendinopathy (n = 2), and whiplash syndrome (n = 1). The studies had a low risk of bias and an average PEDro score of 9. They revealed pain reduction for electrolysis and microelectrolysis at the end of treatment and follow-up evaluations (p < 0.005), and functionality improvement for all experimental groups (p < 0.005). Conclusions. Electrolysis and microelectrolysis treatments reduce pain and improve functionality in MSP conditions. Although both techniques are effective, comparative studies are suggested to determine therapeutic differences and user preferences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-89
Number of pages17
JournalPhysiotherapy Quarterly
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • electric stimulation
  • electroacupuncture
  • electrolysis
  • musculoskeletal diseases
  • musculoskeletal pain
  • systematic review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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