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Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews

Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) for neuropathic pain in adults

Overview of attention for article published in Cochrane database of systematic reviews, September 2017
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  • In the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (96th percentile)
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (90th percentile)

Mentioned by

news
2 news outlets
policy
1 policy source
twitter
77 tweeters
facebook
6 Facebook pages
wikipedia
2 Wikipedia pages

Citations

dimensions_citation
75 Dimensions

Readers on

mendeley
405 Mendeley
Title
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) for neuropathic pain in adults
Published in
Cochrane database of systematic reviews, September 2017
DOI 10.1002/14651858.cd011976.pub2
Pubmed ID
Authors

William Gibson, Benedict M Wand, Neil E O'Connell

Abstract

Neuropathic pain, which is due to nerve disease or damage, represents a significant burden on people and society. It can be particularly unpleasant and achieving adequate symptom control can be difficult. Non-pharmacological methods of treatment are often employed by people with neuropathic pain and may include transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS). This review supersedes one Cochrane Review 'Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) for chronic pain' (Nnoaham 2014) and one withdrawn protocol 'Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) for neuropathic pain in adults' (Claydon 2014). This review replaces the original protocol for neuropathic pain that was withdrawn. To determine the analgesic effectiveness of TENS versus placebo (sham) TENS, TENS versus usual care, TENS versus no treatment and TENS in addition to usual care versus usual care alone in the management of neuropathic pain in adults. We searched CENTRAL, MEDLINE, Embase, PsycINFO, AMED, CINAHL, Web of Science, PEDro, LILACS (up to September 2016) and various clinical trials registries. We also searched bibliographies of included studies for further relevant studies. We included randomised controlled trials where TENS was evaluated in the treatment of central or peripheral neuropathic pain. We included studies if they investigated the following: TENS versus placebo (sham) TENS, TENS versus usual care, TENS versus no treatment and TENS in addition to usual care versus usual care alone in the management of neuropathic pain in adults. Two review authors independently screened all database search results and identified papers requiring full-text assessment. Subsequently, two review authors independently applied inclusion/exclusion criteria to these studies. The same review authors then independently extracted data, assessed for risk of bias using the Cochrane standard tool and rated the quality of evidence using GRADE. We included 15 studies with 724 participants. We found a range of treatment protocols in terms of duration of care, TENS application times and intensity of application. Briefly, duration of care ranged from four days through to three months. Similarly, we found variation of TENS application times; from 15 minutes up to hourly sessions applied four times daily. We typically found intensity of TENS set to comfortable perceptible tingling with very few studies titrating the dose to maintain this perception. Of the comparisons, we had planned to explore, we were only able to undertake a quantitative synthesis for TENS versus sham TENS. Insufficient data and large diversity in the control conditions prevented us from undertaking a quantitative synthesis for the remaining comparisons.For TENS compared to sham TENS, five studies were suitable for pooled analysis. We described the remainder of the studies in narrative form. Overall, we judged 11 studies at high risk of bias, and four at unclear risk. Due to the small number of eligible studies, the high levels of risk of bias across the studies and small sample sizes, we rated the quality of the evidence as very low for the pooled analysis and very low individual GRADE rating of outcomes from single studies. For the individual studies discussed in narrative form, the methodological limitations, quality of reporting and heterogeneous nature of interventions compared did not allow for reliable overall estimates of the effect of TENS.Five studies (across various neuropathic conditions) were suitable for pooled analysis of TENS versus sham TENS investigating change in pain intensity using a visual analogue scale. We found a mean postintervention difference in effect size favouring TENS of -1.58 (95% confidence interval (CI) -2.08 to -1.09, P < 0.00001, n = 207, six comparisons from five studies) (very low quality evidence). There was no significant heterogeneity in this analysis. While this exceeded our prespecified minimally important difference for pain outcomes, we assessed the quality of evidence as very low meaning we have very little confidence in this effect estimate and the true effect is likely to be substantially different from that reported in this review. Only one study of these five investigated health related quality of life as an outcome meaning we were unable to report on this outcome in this comparison. Similarly, we were unable to report on global impression of change or changes in analgesic use in this pooled analysis.Ten small studies compared TENS to some form of usual care. However, there was great diversity in what constituted usual care, precluding pooling of data. Most of these studies found either no difference in pain outcomes between TENS versus other active treatments or favoured the comparator intervention (very low quality evidence). We were unable to report on other primary and secondary outcomes in these single trials (health-related quality of life, global impression of change and changes in analgesic use).Of the 15 included studies, three reported adverse events which were minor and limited to 'skin irritation' at or around the site of electrode placement (very low quality evidence). Three studies reported no adverse events while the remainder did not report any detail with regard adverse events. In this review, we reported on the comparison between TENS and sham TENS. The quality of the evidence was very low meaning we were unable to confidently state whether TENS is effective for pain control in people with neuropathic pain. The very low quality of evidence means we have very limited confidence in the effect estimate reported; the true effect is likely to be substantially different. We make recommendations with respect to future TENS study designs which may meaningfully reduce the uncertainty relating to the effectiveness of this treatment modality.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 77 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 405 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
France 1 <1%
Unknown 404 100%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Master 68 17%
Student > Bachelor 61 15%
Researcher 39 10%
Student > Postgraduate 33 8%
Other 28 7%
Other 81 20%
Unknown 95 23%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 121 30%
Nursing and Health Professions 69 17%
Neuroscience 20 5%
Psychology 12 3%
Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutical Science 10 2%
Other 58 14%
Unknown 115 28%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 74. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 06 April 2021.
All research outputs
#348,604
of 17,648,139 outputs
Outputs from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
#750
of 11,728 outputs
Outputs of similar age
#10,435
of 280,642 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
#25
of 241 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 17,648,139 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 98th percentile: it's in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 11,728 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 25.2. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 93% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 280,642 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 96% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 241 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 90% of its contemporaries.