Clinical and economic impact of TENS in patients with chronic low back pain: analysis of a nationwide database

Orthopedics. 2013 Dec;36(12):922-8. doi: 10.3928/01477447-20131120-04.


This study evaluated patients who were given transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) compared with a matched group without TENS prior to intervention and at 1-year follow-up. Patients who were treated with TENS had significantly fewer hospital and clinic visits, used less diagnostic imaging (31 vs 46 events per 100 patients), had fewer physical therapy visits (94 vs 107), and required less back surgery (7.5 vs 9.2 surgeries) than patients receiving other treatment modalities. Total annual costs for chronic low back pain patients without neurological involvement were lower in TENS patients ($17,957 vs $17,986 for non-TENS), even when the cost of the device was taken into account.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Chronic Pain
  • Comorbidity
  • Databases, Factual
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain / economics
  • Low Back Pain / epidemiology
  • Low Back Pain / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulation / economics*
  • Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulation / statistics & numerical data
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult