The effect of TENS on pain, function, depression, and analgesic consumption in the early postoperative period with spinal surgery patients

Turk Neurosurg. 2011;21(4):618-24.


Aim: The aim of our study was to examine the effects of the use of Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) in patients who had undergone spinal surgery on pain, functionality, depression and consumption of analgesic agents.

Material and methods: Fifty-Four patients were randomized and placed into two groups, patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) plus TENS and only PCA. To assess the pain levels of the patients, the Visual Analog Scale (VAS) was used. In the assessment of their functional levels, the Timed Up and Go test (TUG) was utilized and in the assessment of their depression, the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) was used. The measurements were performed before the operation and on the first and second postoperative days. The side effects were recorded from the analgesic agents.

Results: During the first and second days after the operation, a decrease in the pain levels was noticed in the TENS group (p < 0.05. In the TENS group, the consumption of analgesic agents also decreased and thus side effects were less frequent. From the viewpoint of functional and depression levels, no significant difference between the groups was noticed (p > 0.05).

Conclusion: TENS was effective in reducing analgesic agent-related side effects and in reducing analgesic consumption. In addition, TENS also decreased activity related pain.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living / psychology
  • Analgesics / administration & dosage*
  • Analgesics / adverse effects
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Depression / etiology
  • Depression / prevention & control*
  • Depression / psychology
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neuropsychological Tests / statistics & numerical data
  • Neurosurgical Procedures / adverse effects*
  • Neurosurgical Procedures / methods
  • Pain Measurement / methods
  • Pain, Postoperative* / drug therapy
  • Pain, Postoperative* / prevention & control
  • Pain, Postoperative* / psychology
  • Patient Satisfaction / statistics & numerical data
  • Postoperative Period
  • Prospective Studies
  • Self Administration / statistics & numerical data
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Spinal Diseases / surgery*
  • Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulation / methods*
  • Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulation / statistics & numerical data
  • Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulation / trends
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Analgesics