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Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) carried out at acupuncture points has a significant effect on relieving abdominal and back pain in pancreatic cancer patients. One hundred and seventy-one patients were recruited by Chinese researchers and randomised to either TENS or sham control groups. TENS (2/100 Hz) was applied at Ganshu BL-18, Danshu BL-19, Pishu BL-20 and Weishu BL-21 on the back, and Zhongwan REN-12 on the abdomen for 30 minutes. Pain scores in the TENS group were found to have decreased by 77.9% immediately following treatment, and continued to show a 27.1% reduction from baseline two hours later, without use of any analgesic medication. The control group reported a slight reduction in pain right after the treatment, but showed a trend towards increasing pain thereafter. Between-group comparison showed that pain was significantly well controlled without analgesic medication in the TENS group at zero hours and three hours after treatment, and a significant difference in analgesic effects between groups persisted for three weeks after the end of the treatment cycle. Differences between the control group and TENS group in terms of morphine consumption  were not significant over the course of the investigation. In the TENS group, all patients who had complained of constipation, and 91% of those with poor appetite reported some degree of improvement. No such benefits were reported in the control group.

Multicenter, randomized, double-blind, controlled trial of transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation for pancreatic cancer related pain. Medicine (Baltimore). 2021 Feb 5;100(5):e23748.