Left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation reduces the development of long-term muscle pain

David A Seminowicz, Enrico De Martino, Siobhan M Schabrun, Thomas Graven-Nielsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
7 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) is involved in the experience and modulation of pain, and may be an important node linking pain and cognition. Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) to the left DLPFC can reduce chronic and experimental pain. However, whether left DLPFC rTMS can influence the development of chronic pain is unknown. Using repeated intramuscular injection of nerve growth factor to induce the development of sustained muscle pain (lasting weeks), 30 healthy individuals were randomized to receive 5 consecutive daily treatments of active or sham left DLPFC rTMS, starting before the first nerve growth factor injection on day 0. Muscle soreness and pain severity were collected daily for 14 days and disability on every alternate day. Before the first and 1 day after the last rTMS session, anxiety, depression, affect, pain catastrophizing, and cognitive performance on the attention network test were assessed. Left DLPFC rTMS treatment compared with sham was associated with reduced muscle soreness, pain intensity, and painful area (P < 0.05), and a similar trend was observed for disability. These effects were most evident during the days rTMS was applied lasting up to 3 days after intervention. Depression, anxiety, pain catastrophizing, and affect were unchanged. There was a trend toward improved cognitive function with rTMS compared with sham (P = 0.057). These data indicate that repeated left DLPFC rTMS reduces the pain severity in a model of prolonged muscle pain. The findings may have implications for the development of sustained pain in clinical populations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2486-2492
Number of pages7
JournalPain
Volume159
Issue number12
Early online date20 Jul 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018
Externally publishedYes

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