PainSci commentary on Dubinsky 2010: ?This page is one of thousands in the PainScience.com bibliography. It is not a general article: it is focused on a single scientific paper, and it may provide only just enough context for the summary to make sense. Links to other papers and more general information are provided wherever possible.
This review of transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation (TENS) for neurologic disorders found that it showed benefit only in lower quality (class II) studies, and not even in all of those. When tested proper-like in better quality (class I) studies … nada. Thus TENS “is not recommended for the treatment of chronic low back pain.” I’m shocked.
~ Paul Ingraham
original abstract †Abstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.
OBJECTIVE: To determine if transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation (TENS) is efficacious in the treatment of pain in neurologic disorders.
METHODS: We performed a systematic literature search of Medline and the Cochrane Library from inception to April 2009.
RESULTS: There are conflicting reports of TENS compared to sham TENS in the treatment of chronic low back pain, with 2 Class II studies showing benefit, but 2 Class I studies and another Class II study not showing benefit. Because the Class I studies are stronger evidence, TENS is established as ineffective for the treatment of chronic low back pain (2 Class I studies). TENS is probably effective in treating painful diabetic neuropathy (2 Class II studies).
RECOMMENDATIONS: Transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation (TENS) is not recommended for the treatment of chronic low back pain (Level A). TENS should be considered in the treatment of painful diabetic neuropathy (Level B). Further research into the mechanism of action of TENS is needed, as well as more rigorous studies for determination of efficacy.
- “Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) for chronic low back pain,” S Milne, V Welch, L Brosseau, M Saginur, B Shea, P Tugwell, and G Wells, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2001.
- “Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) versus placebo for chronic low-back pain,” Amole Khadilkar, Daniel Oluwafemi Odebiyi, Lucie Brosseau, and George A Wells, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2008.
This page is part of the PainScience BIBLIOGRAPHY, which contains plain language summaries of thousands of scientific papers & others sources. It’s like a highly specialized blog. A few highlights:
- Photobiomodulation therapy is not better than placebo in patients with chronic nonspecific low back pain: a randomised placebo-controlled trial. Guimarães 2021 Pain.
- No effect of creatine monohydrate supplementation on inflammatory and cartilage degradation biomarkers in individuals with knee osteoarthritis. Cornish 2018 Nutr Res.
- The CANBACK trial: a randomised, controlled clinical trial of oral cannabidiol for people presenting to the emergency department with acute low back pain. Bebee 2021 Med J Aust.
- Relationships Between Sleep Quality and Pain-Related Factors for People with Chronic Low Back Pain: Tests of Reciprocal and Time of Day Effects. Gerhart 2017 Ann Behav Med.
- Modulation in the elastic properties of gastrocnemius muscle heads in individuals with plantar fasciitis and its relationship with pain. Zhou 2020 Sci Rep.