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).