Transcutaneous electrical stimulation (TENS) for psychogenic movement disorders

J Neuropsychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2011 Spring;23(2):141-8. doi: 10.1176/jnp.23.2.jnp141.


Psychogenic movement disorders (PMDs) often result in disability and diminished quality of life, yet medical therapies are presently limited and largely ineffective. On the basis of previous reports that transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) is helpful for certain patients with organic movement disorders, the authors studied the effects of TENS in 19 patients with PMDs, utilizing the Psychogenic Movement Disorder Rating Scale (PMDRS) as well as patient-rated assessments of PMD magnitude, persistence, and disability. The PMDRS Severity score significantly improved after a mean follow-up of 6.9 months, and short duration of PMD was found to be the only identifiable predictor of a favorable outcome. Although the tingling sensation produced by TENS makes it poorly suited for a controlled clinical trial, the device has a favorable side-effect profile and is an acceptable palliative treatment for a subset of PMD patients.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Movement Disorders / therapy*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Somatoform Disorders / therapy*
  • Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulation*
  • Treatment Outcome