TENS is back in the news again. TENS therapy is widely used to treat chronic lower back pain by sending electric currents to nerves from a pocket sized battery pack through electrodes attached to the skin (TENS stands for transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation).
The big news is the National Academy of Neurology no longer endorses the treatment. In their December 30th issue of Neurology discontinues their recommendation for TENS as treatment for chronic lower back pain. In fact, the study’s lead author, Dr. Dubinsky, is now on the record as saying “TENS was found to be of no benefit for people with chronic lower back pain.”
Naturally, mainstream media went wild with the story ever since with over 60 major news outlet stories written on it since. After all, we’re talking about four decades of wasted time and money for a lower back pain treatment that simply doesn’t work. Sorry boys, but you’re a little late to the party.
You see, the new study was simply a review of existing literature. We’ve known for years that TENS was no more effective at treating lower back pain than placebo. The real story ought to be how it took nearly a decade just to come out and say it doesn’t work. But we’ll save that rant for another day because if you or someone you love is suffering from chronic lower back pain you’re more interested in what DOES work.
Number one recommendation for treating chronic lower back pain is exercise. It is proven effective, free of side effects like pharmaceutical drugs, and doesn’t have to cost you a dime. The key to getting lower back pain relief from exercise is doing the right exercises. Most lower back pain is the result of muscle imbalances which can be effectively treated through stretching overly tight muscles and strengthening weak muscles through muscle balance therapy.
To get you started, here’s a quick stretch you can use right now for immediate lower back pain relief: