published December 31st, 2009
Bad back? Nerve stimulation won’t help
By Denise Mann
A popular pain-relief treatment that uses electricity to stimulate nerves isn’t likely to benefit the millions of Americans who live with chronic low back pain and shouldn’t be recommended for that purpose, new guidelines say.
Transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation, or TENS, is delivered using a small battery-operated generator connected to a set of electrodes. The generator, about the size of a BlackBerry, transmits a weak electric current through the electrodes, which are attached to the skin at the site of chronic pain or at other key points.
Despite their popularity, there is little evidence that these devices are effective for chronic low back pain, according to the guidelines from the American Academy of Neurology, which were published Wednesday in the journal Neurology.
Read more »