TENS Not as Effective as Presumed and Not Recommended - AAN

The American Academy of Neurology has revealed that Transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation, or TENS, a somewhat controversial treatment for patients who suffer from chronic back pain, is not as effective as perceived and its use cannot be recommended.

TENS is a small, pocket-sized device, which is battery operated, and works by sending electric currents to the nerves through electrodes with the aim of treating pain.

For over 40 years, TENS has been used by patients of back pain, but studies which have been carried out to evaluate its effectiveness have given mixed reviews. But the latest review has recommended against its use.

"From the systematic review of the literature, based on the strength of the studies, we can say that TENS does not work for low back pain", explained neurologist and guideline co-author Richard M. Dubinsky, MD, MPH, of Kansas University Medical Center.

For the sake of study, the latest research looked at TENS studies involving patients who had been suffering from chronic lower back pains for three months or more, and conclusions were drawn based on the data collected.

"We can’t say that TENS will not work in any patient with chronic low back pain. We can say there is proof it doesn’t work in groups of patients with chronic low back pain". Said Mr. Dubinsky.