Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation for Treatment of Neuropathic Pain
DOI: 10.3238/zfa.2019.0435-0437german translation / full article
Question Neuropathic pain, mostly caused by diabetic polyneuropathy, is a frequent reason for encounter in family medicine. Appropriate treatment of this condition presents a major challenge. Frequently, drug treatment is either not sufficiently effective or it can’t be given due to adverse drug events. Therefore, non-pharmacological interventions are also applied for optimal control of chronic presentations of pain. TENS, the transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, is a commonly used treatment option for the relief of pain. The question is whether there exists sufficient evidence from clinical studies to support the application of TENS in neuropathic pain.At present, there is no reliable proof of effectiveness of TENS based on valid clinical trials in the treatment of neuropathic pain. The positive effects that have been demonstrated in some studies, can most likely be attributed to placebo-effects which disappear after long-term observation. Choosing TENS as a therapeutic measure may be justified in patients who don’t reach sufficient pain relive by standard drug treatment, but using TENS should not lead to a delay of indicated drug treatment of pain.