Detailed guides to painful problems, treatments & more

New feature article about electrotherapy 

 •  • by Paul Ingraham
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Weekly nuggets of pain science news and insight, usually 100-300 words, with the occasional longer post. The blog is the “director’s commentary” on the core content of PainScience.com: a library of major articles and books about common painful problems and popular treatments. See the blog archives or updates for the whole site.

Photograph of an unusual TENS unit, with a pair of thick electrodes, about an inch square, that seem to have batteries built into them, attached to the arm of a woman.

This novel TENS unit has batteries built into the electrodes. (Photo by Philips Communications, license, image unmodified.)

The first new feature article for PainScience.com in ages is now ready for prime time: Zapped! Does TENS work for pain? The peculiar popularity of being gently zapped with electrical stimulation therapy. It’s about all kinds of neuromodulation, but especially transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) for pain. A “featured” article means that it goes way beyond a typical blog post: it delves and digresses, and it’s littered with footnotes and references. There’s no point in publishing anything less these days! There are zillion short, shallow articles about TENS out there. This is the only one I’ve seen so far, outside of the scientific journals, that really digs into the topic.

It takes ages to prepare these! I chipped away at this one for an hour or two per week for six months, which is the only way I get anything done any more: I rotate between many projects, inching forward on many fronts. I don’t get anything done quickly! But I get a lot done slowly.

Except nothing’s ever really done, so please put on your critical thinking caps and hit me: Do you think I got anything wrong? What’s missing, despite all the thoroughness? Plenty, I’m sure. This is a good chance to influence the final form of the article.