Analgesic Effects of Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation at Different Stimulus Parameters for Neuropathic Pain: A Randomized Study

SOURCE: Neuromodulation. 25(4):520-527, 2022 Jun.

AUTHORS: Mori N; Hosomi K; Nishi A; Oshino S; Kishima H; Saitoh Y

OBJECTIVES: The aim of the present study was to investigate the analgesic effects of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation over the primary motor cortex (M1-rTMS) using different stimulation parameters to explore the optimal stimulus condition for treating neuropathic pain.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: We conducted a randomized, blinded, crossover exploratory study. Four single sessions of M1-rTMS at different parameters were administered in random order. The tested stimulation conditions were as follows: 5-Hz with 500 pulses per session, 10-Hz with 500 pulses per
session, 10-Hz with 2000 pulses per session, and sham stimulation. Analgesic effects were assessed by determining the visual analog scale (VAS) pain intensity score and Short-Form McGill Pain Questionnaire 2 (SF-MPQ2) score immediately before and immediately after intervention.

RESULTS: We enrolled 22 adults (age: 59.8 +/- 12.1 years) with intractable neuropathic pain. Linear-effects models showed significant effects of the stimulation condition on changes in VAS pain intensity (p = 0.03) and SF-MPQ2 (p = 0.01). Tukey multiple comparison tests revealed that 10-Hz rTMS with 2000 pulses provided better pain relief than sham stimulation, with greater decreases in VAS pain intensity (p = 0.03) and SF-MPQ2 (p = 0.02).

CONCLUSIONS: The results of this study suggest that high-dose stimulation (specifically, 10-Hz rTMS at 2000 pulses) is more effective than lower-dose stimulation for treating neuropathic pain.