TENS and PENS stand for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation and Percutaneous Electical Nerve Stimulation respectively. Both procedures can be helpful in alleviating some of the more painful symptoms of peripheral neuropathy, but have to be used repeatedly to sustain the benefits.
During TENS procedures, a small battery operated device is worn by the patient and electrodes are typically placed on the surface of the skin, over the area where the pain is felt. Low level electrical current is then applied for usually about thirty minutes, several times throughout the day.
The PENS procedure is similar in concept to TENS. The main difference is that instead of using the surface electrodes seen in TENS devices, PENS uses needle probes as electrodes that are inserted through the skin. These needle probes are typically placed next to the nerve causing painful neuropathy symptoms and then stimulated. PENS can be used in people who do not get sufficient pain relief from TENS.