Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation study.
The analgesic effects of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) in chronic pain have been the focus of several studies. In particular, rTMS of the premotor cortex/dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (PMC/DLPFC) changes pain perception in healthy subjects and has analgesic effects in acute postoperative pain, as well as in fibromyalgia patients. However, its effect on neuropathic pain in patients with traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) has not been assessed.
Merano (Italy) and Salzburg (Austria).
In this study, we performed PMC/DLPFC rTMS in subjects with SCI and neuropathic pain. Twelve subjects with chronic cervical or thoracic SCI were randomized to receive 1250 pulses at 10 Hz rTMS (n=6) or sham rTMS (n=6) treatment for 10 sessions over 2 weeks. The visual analog scale, the sensory and affective pain rating indices of the McGill Pain Questionnaire (MPQ), the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale and the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale were used to assed pain and mood at baseline (T0), 1 day after the first week of treatment (T1), 1 day (T2), 1 week (T3) and 1 month (T4) after the last intervention.
Subjects who received active rTMS had a statistically significant reduction in pain symptoms in comparison with their baseline pain, whereas sham rTMS participants had a non-significant change in daily pain from their baseline pain.
The findings of this preliminary study in a small patient sample suggest that rTMS of the PMC/DLPFC may be effective in relieving neuropathic pain in SCI patients.Spinal Cord advance online publication, 31 May 2016; doi:10.1038/sc.2016.87.