Off-campus Pacific University users: To download campus access theses and dissertations, please log into our proxy server with your PUNet ID and password.

Non-Pacific University users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this thesis or dissertation through interlibrary loan.

Theses or dissertations that have a specific embargo period indicated below will not be available to anyone until the date indicated.

Date of Award


Degree Type

Thesis (On-Campus Access Only)

Degree Name

Master of Physical Therapy (MPT)

First Advisor

John Medeiros, PhD, PT

Second Advisor

Daiva Banaitis, PhD, PT

Third Advisor

Thomas Charters, MS


General trends have emerged in transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation research in regards to wave characteristics as they relate to pain control. Specific electrotherapeutic parameters to maximize the effectiveness of TENS is still under scrutiny. Guidelines may be defined when it is determined what electrical waveform parameters are most effective in eliminating pain. Epidermal tissue provides a barrier between the generated TENS wave and the stimulation of excitable tissue. This physiologic barrier tends to modify the original generated waveform. The purpose of this study was to compare electrical characteristics of frequency, amplitude, duration, skin resistance, and visual characteristics of the waveform as observed on an oscilloscope among five different TENS units as well as a sine and square wave. Comparison was performed by observing the electrical features of a given waveform through a one kilo ohm resistor versus the electrical features of the waveform through pig skin. Results showed no observable difference in frequency, significant difference in amplitude, variable difference in duration of the wave, and small difference in the resistance of electrical flow through pig skin as a function of frequency with traditional TENS parameters. Results by visual comparison of waveforms through a one kilo ohm resistor versus through pig skin indicated that epidural tissue has capacitive qualities which distort the appearance of waveform.


The digital version of this project is currently unavailable to off-campus users not affiliated with Pacific University; however, it may be accessed on campus or through interlibrary loan (for eligible borrowers) from Pacific University Library. Pacific University Library is a free lender.