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bibliography*The PainScience Bibliography contains plain language summaries of thousands of scientific papers and others sources, like a specialized blog. This page is about a single scientific paper in the bibliography, Dubinsky 2010.

Assessment: efficacy of transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation in the treatment of pain in neurologic disorders (an evidence-based review)

updated


Tags: back pain, TENS, chronic pain, neurology, pain problems, spine, devices, treatment

PainSci summary of 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 at the bottom of the page, as often as possible. ★★★☆☆?3-star ratings are for typical studies with no more (or less) than the usual common problems. Ratings are a highly subjective opinion, and subject to revision at any time. If you think this paper has been incorrectly rated, please let me know.

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 abstractAbstracts 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.

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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: