Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) for chronic pain

  • Withdrawn
  • Review
  • Intervention


Reason for withdrawal from publication

This review is out of date although it is correct as of the date of publication. The latest version is available in the ‘Other versions’ tab on The Cochrane Library, and may still be useful to readers. This review will be replaced by two new reviews, Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) for neuropathic pain and Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) for fibromyalgia. The new reviews will serve to update this review, and will conform to current standards.

Motif du retrait

Neurostimulation électrique transcutanée (TENS) contre la douleur chronique

The editorial group responsible for this previously published document have withdrawn it from publication.

What's new

Last assessed as up-to-date: 28 April 2008.

3 July 2014AmendedThis review has been withdrawn. See Published notes.


Protocol first published: Issue 3, 2001
Review first published: Issue 3, 2001

9 April 2014Feedback has been incorporatedFeedback added regarding included study Thorsteinsson 1978, see Feedback.
30 September 2009Feedback has been incorporatedFeedback incorporated regarding Davies 1997 and Lewis 1994 and Lewis 1984 references which were incorrectly cited. Please see feedback section for specific details of the changes made to this review.
28 April 2008New search has been performedThis systematic review represents a substantial update and revision of the previous Cochrane Review published in 2001. The previous review was inconclusive of any beneficial effect of TENS in chronic pain. The studies identified (Al-Smadi 2003; Cheing 2003; Köke 2004; Ng 2003; Oosterhof 2006; Warke 2006) and included in this update offer little improvement upon earlier ones with respect to numbers (only six new studies included), methodological rigour or adequate sample size to conclusively define an effect of TENS in chronic pain.

The updated search strategy was executed from 1999 to April 2008. Forty-two new studies were identified for potential inclusion but thirty-six of these were excluded and six (representing 510 new participants) were included.1281

As the new studies were few and offered only marginal improvements in quality from previously included studies, meta-analysis and quantitative analysis were deemed inappropriate as in the previous review. Consequently, the new studies were only analysed qualitatively.

Furthermore, this update considered issues such as the placebo effect in TENS and the potential synergy between TENS and other pain treatments. It was judged that the included studies did not present enough information upon which to make conclusions about these issues and readers may want to read this update bearing in mind these limitations.

This updated review is a substantial update including six new studies which, however, do not alter previous conclusions.
28 April 2008New citation required but conclusions have not changedNew authorship for this review.
4 April 2008AmendedConverted to new review format.
11 January 2008New citation required and conclusions have changedSubstantive amendment

Sources of support

Internal sources

  • None, Other.

External sources

  • None, Other.