Electrical nerve stimulation could complement medicinal pain
5 October 2009
Nearly half of those suffering from a spinal cord injury (SCI) are at
risk of developing neuropathic pain. This type of pain is often
difficult to relieve and usually managed with drugs such as
antidepressants or anticonvulsants.
In a recent study researchers assessed the short-term effects of high
and low-frequency transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) on
neuropathic pain following SCI. The results were published in the
Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development (JRRD), Volume
46, Issue 1.
Patients were instructed to treat themselves three times daily for
two weeks. After a two-week wash-out period, patients switched
stimulation frequencies and repeated the procedure.
Twenty-nine percent of patients reported a favourable effect from
high-frequency TENS and 38% from low-frequency stimulation on a 5-point
global pain relief scale. Twenty-five percent of the patients were, at
their request, prescribed TENS stimulators for further treatment at the
end of the study.
Studies in the literature on the effect of TENS in patients with
chronic pain are sparse. However, existing studies suggest that TENS may
be an effective complement to the pharmacological approach to
neuropathic pain management in patients with SCI.
This article is published in JRRD, Volume 46, Issue1, a special issue
dedicated to managing pain after spinal cord injury:
Bookmark this page