TENS and IDET for Pain Management

1 What are Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) and Intradiscal Electrothermal Therapy (IDET)?

Read on to learn more about transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) and intradiscal electrothermal therapy (IDET) for pain management.

Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) therapy is the most common form of electrical stimulation used to relieve pain associated with various conditions, including back pain.

During TENS therapy, a small, battery-operated device through the skin via electrodes placed near the source of pain delivers low-voltage electrical current and the electricity stimulates nerves in the affected area and sends signals to the brain that "scramble" normal pain perception. But, the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) claim that is not effective and cannot be recommended for chronic low back pain.

Intradiscal electrothermal therapy (IDET) is a treatment option for people with low back pain due to intervertebral disc problems.

It uses heat (90 degrees Celsius) to modify the nerve fibers of a spinal disc and to destroy pain receptors in the area with a wire called an electrothermal catheter placed through an incision in the damaged disc.

This is an outpatient procedure performed under a local anesthesia.

Some studies indicate that some patients may have continued pain relief for up to six months or longer, but the long-term effects of this procedure on the disc have not been determined.

Radiofrequency discal nucleoplasty is a new procedure. It utilizes a radio frequency probe instead of heating wire to disintegrate a small portion of the central disc material so the result is partial decompression of the disc, which can help relieve pain caused by bulging discs pressing on nearby spinal nerve roots.

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