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  • CMS Requests Evidence on TENS

    The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) will conduct a national coverage analysis on evidence on the use of transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) for treatment of chronic low back pain. The agency is particularly interested in receiving evidence on health outcomes attributable to the use of TENS in home settings. CMS also encourages the submission of comments that pertain to clinical studies falling under the Coverage with Evidence Development paradigm, as it is considering coverage under Section 1862(a)(1)(A) and Section 1862(a)(1)(E) of the Social Security Act.

    CMS' analysis follows a 2010 report by the Therapeutic and Technology Assessment Subcommittee of the American Academy of Neurology that found TENS ineffective for chronic low back pain.

    APTA will submit comments by the October 13 deadline.


    • Dear CMS, As a PT for 11 years in a variety of settings, I have distributed many TENS units to patients for pain relief. Every patient has found relief in use of this type of pain management, allowing them to use less pain medication and even work longer hours with less pain. Patients have found that they can

      Posted by Tonya Stierlen on 9/23/2011 1:16 PM

    • As a physical therapist for 28 years, I have found TENS to be very cost effective in the treatment of chronic low back pain. One of my success stories regarding TENS involved a retired minister who still would preach 2 times a month. He found it extremely uncomfortable to stand at the pulpit to do this. I procured a low cost TENS device and he was able to resume his preaching with a 75% reduction in his pain.

      Posted by Donna Schnatz PT,GCS on 9/24/2011 12:17 PM

    • My 80 year old mother has had chronic mid to LBP for @25 years. She has seen an orthopedist and neurosurgeon, as well as her internist who referred her to these specialists. She has no diagnosis that requires surgery and in fact between all the disciplines, she has not received a definitive diagnosis. Therefore, her medical options have always consisted of pain meds and physical therapy which she has tried multiple times over the years with short term success. Sometimes the pain is so severe she cannot participate in her regular activities of walking, taking care of her household chores (she lives alone) and playing bridge which she loves. About 8 years ago I suggested she try a TENS unit for the times her pain exacerbates. She tried it and now when the pain starts, she is able to control it with her TENS taking her pain from a "10" to a manageable "2" and allowing her to continue her daily activities that prior to the TENS, would "land" her in bed for several days. I also have several other success stories including patients with chronic stress headaches who report being able to control the muscle spasms in their upper traps and levator scapulae that lead to the headaches. Also, a patient with sciatica due to spasms in the piriformis and gluteus muscles who reports ability to stop the sciatic pain by decreasing the muscle spasms responsible for the sciatic pain.

      Posted by Margaret S. Gagnon, PT on 9/26/2011 9:33 AM

    • I have this tens for many years. and it helps me to do things normal. without it my life would be very hard and forever painful. i could not even have close to a normal life. please with my money situation i could not pay this on my own.please do not take this away for me.

      Posted by Sharon Carson on 2/13/2012 4:28 PM

    • I am a practicing PT, with 38 years experience, who supports the use of TENS for pain management. It has proven to be effective and economical plus easy to apply with very few complications or contrindications. In comparison to invasive procedures, including drugs, injections, stimulator implants, and surgeries, TENS has an important and less costly role in pain management. I believe that therapists working with the physician to oversee this procedure is the wisest, and often overlooked, initial alternative to chronic pain management.

      Posted by paul tryninewski on 2/20/2012 2:00 PM

    • I wse TENS for my lower back pain Please do not stop coves thank you

      Posted by Lucreacia Upton on 2/27/2012 1:31 PM

    • With my tens unit I am able to do more things, with less pain. Especially being able to ride in a car or van. At times before getting it I would have to stay home more, or risk laying down ( which I dont want to do because then I had no seat belt). Its so hard to live in pain, please do not let our gov. stop coverage changes for Tens! PLEASE!

      Posted by Leann Peters on 3/2/2012 4:34 PM

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