Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) is a therapy that delivers
electrical stimulation to the peripheral nervous system. Traditionally
used for pain, TENS has also proven to be a safe and affective treatment
of spasticity in stroke patients.
Spinal cord injury can also cause spasticity (the involuntary increase
of muscle tone or contractions). A randomized controlled trial recently
showed that one 60-minute treatment of TENS provided a significant reduction
of spasticity in spinal cord injury patients. This improvement was not
seen in the control group that did not receive TENS treatment.
TENS is an easy-to-use, relatively inexpensive therapy that is well established
for the treatment of pain. This study has shown that TENS may also be
an effective therapy for spasticity in spinal cord injury, and should
be given consideration in the rehabilitation setting.
Chung BPH, & Cheng BKK. Immediate effect of transcutaneous electrical
nerve stimulation on spasticity in patients with spinal cord injury.
Clinical Rehabilitation. (March 2010).