- The authors report the results of a randomized controlled trial to examine the effectiveness of transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS/CODETRON) when added to a standard exercise program for industrial workers with acute low back pain (LBP). Fifty-eight work-injured patients with LBP of 3-10 weeks duration were randomized into two groups that received actual or placebo stimulation in combination with the exercise regimen. The groups were compared on the primary outcome measures of disability, pain, and return to work. No significant differences between the experimental and placebo groups were discovered on any of the measured outcomes. Exercise alone, when continued over 4 weeks, reduced disability and pain scores significantly. Under the experimental conditions of this trial, no additional benefits of TENS/CODETRON were detected when added to an active exercise regimen.