Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation for Cancer Pain

  • Jeffrey LohEmail author


Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) as a treatment modality for chronic pain has been present since the mid-1800s. TENS works through multiple methods, with possible release of cytokines and conduction blockade of the A-beta and A-delta nerve fibers. Few randomized controlled trials exist examining the effects of TENS on cancer pain; however initial studies show beneficial improvement in pain scores and quality of life in cancer patients. Like TENS, transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) and cranial electrotherapy stimulation (CES) are treatments that entail electrical stimulation to the cerebral cortex of the brain. Few studies exist on tDCS and CES for the treatment of cancer pain; however these two treatment modalities have shown benefit for the treatment of fibromyalgia, depression, and neuropathic pain.


Cancer pain Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation Transcranial direct current stimulation Cranial electrotherapy stimulation Mechanism of action Outcomes 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Queen’s Medical Center, Department of Anesthesiology & Pain ManagementHonoluluUSA

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