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TENS, Laser or Neither for Back Pain?

When you experience lower back pain, it’s hard to focus on anything else. If you’ve done any research to find the most effective treatments for back pain, and you’re confused by the wide variety of conflicting information you find, you’re not alone.

What you want is a treatment that’s effective, safe, and non-invasive. The challenge is in sorting out what actually works to relieve back pain from what claims to work. At the end of the day, you really just want to be free from back pain so you can focus on the important things in your life.

A quick look at the evidence will help you sort out the myths from the facts as they relate to transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation (TENS) and laser treatments for back pain.

What Is TENS?

TENS was introduced in the medical community about 30 years ago as an ancillary treatment for the pharmacological management of pain.

Many medical professionals believe that TENS is effective for relieving back pain. Allegedly, it works by sending low-voltage electric currents through your back using a small, battery-powered device.

The philosophy behind TENS is that the electrodes placed near the pain in your back produce electrical impulses that stimulate the nerves in your back. Medical providers can control the width, frequency, and intensity of the contractions. The patient feels a mild tingling sensation during the process.

Not many studies have been done to prove the effectiveness of treating back pain with TENS. The few studies that have been done have used only a limited number of participants and they lacked strong methodological quality.

To date, clinical evidence for TENS hasn’t proved to be effective for long-term pain.

What Does Evidence Show About Low-Level Laser Therapy for Back Pain?

 The term laser is actually an acronym for light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation. Essentially, laser therapy is a medical treatment that uses focused light to penetrate the skin and body tissues to target pain.

Low-level laser therapy has been widely used to relieve musculoskeletal disorders. Therapeutic outcomes for back pain treated with low-level laser treatments are varied and conflicting. So, let’s look at what the evidence shows about the effectiveness of laser treatments for back pain.

Two trials of 410 patients failed to prove that TENS was effective for back pain.

In reviewing the most current research on laser treatments for back pain, The Institute for Health and Work reports that “There was insufficient evidence to either support or disprove the effectiveness of low-level lasers.”

Fort Collins Chiropractor for Safe, Effective Treatment of Back Pain

 While TENS and low-level laser treatment have been widely used to clinically treat back pain, there is no meaningful evidence that patients find long-term relief from it.

Don’t let these results discourage you. You’re not out of options if you’re a chronic back pain sufferer. Your Fort Collins Chiropractor provides the most advanced, researched-based chiropractic technique for the most effective, safe, and ethical treatment options for back pain.

You don’t have to live with back pain! See a chiropractor in Fort Collins for the safest, most effective treatment to get you standing up straight and feeling well again.


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