Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) is commonly used in the treatment of chronic and acute pain with possible mechanisms of action including segmental inhibition, release of endogenous opioids, counter-irritation, nerve conduction block, and placebo. Although not frequently used in current practice, there is some evidence that TENS has an effect on spasticity in neurological conditions such as stroke, spinal cord injury, and multiple sclerosis. This paper reviews the results of studies undertaken to date, evaluating not only the effects of TENS on spasticity, but also the impact of different TENS parameters on its overall effectiveness. Recommendations based on the current evidence for the use of TENS in the treatment of spasticity are made, as well as suggestions for further study.
- multiple sclerosis
- transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation