In The News: March 2010

A new guideline issued by the American Academy of Neurology has found that transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)-a widely used pain therapy involving a portable, pocket-sized device that applies a mild electrical current to the nerves through electrodes-is not recommended to treat chronic lower back pain. Researchers reviewed all evidence for lower back pain lasting three months or longer, including that caused by a pinched nerve, severe scoliosis (curvature of the spine), severe spondylolisthesis (displacement of a vertebrae) or obesity, and found TENS not to be effective. However, there was substantial evidence that the procedure can be effective in treating diabetic back pain. TENS has been used for pain relief in various disorders for years, with the belief that electrical stimulation may confuse the brain and block actual pain signals from getting through. The guideline was published in the December online issue of Neurology.
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