Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Widely used device for pain therapy not recommended for chronic low back pain

Date:
December 31, 2009
Source:
American Academy of Neurology
Summary:
A new guideline issued by the American Academy of Neurology finds that transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation, a widely used pain therapy involving a portable device, is not recommended to treat chronic low-back pain -- pain that has persisted for three months or longer -- because research shows it is not effective.

A new guideline issued by the American Academy of Neurology finds that transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation (TENS), a widely used pain therapy involving a portable device, is not recommended to treat chronic low-back painpain that has persisted for three months or longerbecause research shows it is not effective.

The guideline is published in the December 30, 2009, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

The guideline determined that TENS can be effective in treating diabetic nerve pain, also called diabetic neuropathy, but more and better research is needed to compare TENS to other treatments for this type of pain.

Research on TENS for chronic low-back pain has produced conflicting results. For the guideline, the authors reviewed all of the evidence for low-back pain lasting three months or longer. Acute low-back pain was not studied. The studies to date show that TENS does not help with chronic low-back pain.

All but one of the studies excluded people with known causes of low-back pain, such as a pinched nerve, severe scoliosis (curving of the spine), severe spondylolisthesis (displacement of a backbone or vertebra) or obesity. In the one study that looked at low-back pain associated with known conditions, TENS was not shown to be effective. The only specific neurologic cause of chronic low-back pain where TENS was studied was multiple sclerosis, and TENS was not shown to help.

"The strongest evidence showed that there is no benefit for people using TENS for chronic low-back pain," said guideline author Richard M. Dubinsky, MD, MPH, of Kansas University Medical Center in Kansas City and a Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology. "Doctors should use clinical judgment regarding TENS use for chronic low-back pain. People who are currently using TENS for their low-back pain should discuss these findings with their doctors."

Dubinsky stated further that good evidence showed that TENS can be effective in treating diabetic nerve pain.

With TENS, a portable, pocket-sized unit applies a mild electrical current to the nerves through electrodes. TENS has been used for pain relief in various disorders for years. Researchers do not know how TENS may provide relief for pain. One theory is that nerves can only carry one signal at a time. The TENS stimulation may confuse the brain and block the real pain signal from getting through.

Back pain -- both acute and chronic -- is the second most common neurologic ailment in the United States, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, and is the most common cause of job-related disability. About 60 percent of people with diabetes will develop neuropathy.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Academy of Neurology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Academy of Neurology. "Widely used device for pain therapy not recommended for chronic low back pain." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 December 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091230174120.htm>.
American Academy of Neurology. (2009, December 31). Widely used device for pain therapy not recommended for chronic low back pain. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091230174120.htm
American Academy of Neurology. "Widely used device for pain therapy not recommended for chronic low back pain." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091230174120.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) — The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Newsy (July 24, 2014) — Sheik Umar Khan has treated many of the people infected in the Ebola outbreak, and now he's become one of them. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

AFP (July 24, 2014) — America's death penalty debate raged Thursday after it took nearly two hours for Arizona to execute a prisoner who lost a Supreme Court battle challenging the experimental lethal drug cocktail. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

AFP (July 24, 2014) — China's elderly population is expanding so quickly that children struggle to look after them, pushing them to do something unexpected in Chinese society- move their parents into a nursing home. Duration: 02:07 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins