Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) and acupuncture

Mark I. Johnson

in Neuropathic Pain

Second edition

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

ISBN: 9780199563678
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199607426 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Pain Management Library

Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) and acupuncture

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  • Anaesthetics
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• TENS and acupuncture are simple and generally safe methods of stimulating peripheral nerves and muscles close to the site of pain in order to modulate nociceptive input to the spinal cord • TENS can be useful for peripheral neuropathic pain and analgesic effects are often felt immediately • Best results occur when patients are given a supervised trial of TENS to guide electrode placement and stimulation settings, although TENS is widely available to the public • Pain relief from acupuncture is generally delayed following treatment but often outlasts the stimulation period (in contrast to TENS) • There is a dearth of good-quality evidence to guide decisions regarding TENS and acupuncture in neuropathic pain. However, both have few adverse effects, can be combined easily with drug therapy, and are always worth a trial in a patient who has not responded to other treatments.

Chapter.  2438 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Anaesthetics ; Pain Medicine

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