Effect of anodal transcutaneous spinal DCS on chronic neuropathic pain

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Pilot study of feasibility and effect of anodal transcutaneous spinal direct current stimulation on chronic neuropathic pain after spinal cord injury.

STUDY DESIGN: A single-blind crossover study.
OBJECTIVES: This study aimed to evaluate neuropathic pain in persons with spinal cord injury (SCI) after the application of transcutaneous spinal direct current stimulation (tsDCS).
SETTING: Outpatient Clinic of the Rehabilitation Department, Seoul National University Hospital.
METHODS: The effect of single sessions of both anodal and sham tsDCS (2 mA, 20 min) on chronic neuropathic pain in ten volunteers with complete motor cervical SCI was assessed. The active electrode was placed over the spinal process of the tenth thoracic vertebra and the reference electrode, at the top of the head. Pre- to post-tsDCS intervention changes in pain intensity (numeric rating scale, NRS), patient global assessment, and present pain intensity (PPI) were assessed before and after the tsDCS session (immediately post stimulation, and at 1 and 2 h post stimulation).
RESULTS: All participants underwent the stimulation procedure without dropout. Our results showed no significant pre- to post-treatment difference in pain intensity between the active and sham tsDCS groups. Only in the sham tsDCS stimulation, NRS and PPI scores were reduced after the stimulation session. Furthermore, in the mixed effect model analysis, the response in the second period appeared to be more favorable.
CONCLUSION: The results suggest that a single session of anodal tsDCS with the montage used in this study is feasible but does not have a significant analgesic effect in individuals with chronic cervical SCI.
SPONSORSHIP: The study was funded by Seoul National University Hospital (No. 0420160470) and Korea Workers’ Compensation & Welfare Service.

PMID: 30700853 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

Spinal Cord. 2019 Jun;57(6):461-470

Authors: Choi YA, Kim Y, Shin HI