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TENS – Not effective for Chronic Low Back Pain according to latest guidelines

The American Academy of Neurology (AAN) recently published an evidence-based guidelines on the use of TENS ( transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation) is not recommended for the treatment of chronic low-back pain due to lack of proven efficacy. This supports our views at Core Concepts as a large number of chronic back pain cases is mechanical in nature. 

"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."

TENS however, continues to be recommended for TENS can be effective in treating diabetic nerve pain.


  1. Assessment: Efficacy of transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation in the treatment of pain in neurologic disorders (an evidence-based review). Report of the Therapeutics and Technology Assessment Subcommittee of the American Academy of Neurology
  2. American Academy of Neurology (2009, December 31). Widely used device for pain therapy not recommended for chronic low back pain. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 1, 2010, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2009/12/091230174120.htm

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