Skiers with back pain, this popular treatment may not work

Posted By: The Ski Channel on December 30, 2009 3:12 pm

Sadly, many of us know how it feels to endure back pain while skiing. We love the activity so much, we fight through what we know we shouldn’t be fighting through. We’re very familiar with the ice pack, the heat pack, the jacuzzi…and those who have more severe pain know of TENS. TENS is transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation—a popular form of treatment that involves a portable device sending mild electric shocks up one’s back.

A new study has emerged claiming TENS is not effective in treating chronic lower back pain. “The strongest evidence showed that there is no benefit for people using TENS for chronic low-back pain,” said Dr. Richard M. Dubinsky of the Kansas University Medical Center.

What TENS may be good for however, is treating diabetic nerve pain.

The main problem with TENS is that scientists don’t seem to understand it. There is no full understanding of how it can work. The popular theory is that nerves can only carry one signal at a time, and the electrical stimulation may confuse the brain and block the real pain signal from getting through.

So if you’ve felt lower back pain from skiing recently, you may want to consult with a physician before experimenting with the TENS treatment.