Transcranial direct current stimulation for the management of neuropathic pain: A narrative review

Seoyon Yang, Min Cheol Chang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Neuropathic pain (NP) is common and often resistant to conventional analgesics. Among different types of noninvasive brain stimulation techniques, transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) has been widely used to mitigate pain in patients with NP. Objective: The aim of this study was to review the effects of tDCS on the management of various types of NP. Study Design: Narrative review. Methods: A PubMed search was conducted for articles published until October 1, 2020, using tDCS to treat NP. The key search phrase, transcranial direct current stimulation and pain, was used to identify potentially relevant articles. The following inclusion criteria were applied for article selection: (1) studies involving patients with NP and (2) studies that used tDCS to treat NP. Review articles were excluded from the analysis. Results: A total of 524 potentially relevant articles were identified. After reading the titles and abstracts and assessing eligibility based on the full-text articles, 34 publications were included in our review. Overall, our results suggest that tDCS induced pain reduction in patients with NP due to stroke or spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, or trigeminal neuralgia. There is insufficient evidence to validate the efficacy of tDCS for treating other painful conditions, such as complex regional pain syndrome, phantom pain, or NP of various origins. Limitations: The review did not include studies indexed in databases other than PubMed. Conclusion: The results of the included studies suggest that tDCS may be beneficial in treating patients with NP due to stroke, spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, and trigeminal neuralgia. Further studies are recommended to validate the efficacy of tDCS in treating other types of NPs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E771-E781
JournalPain Physician
Volume24
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
From: 1Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Ewha Woman’s University Seoul Hospital, School of Medicine, Ewha Woman’s University, Republic of Korea; 2Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, College of Medicine, Yeungnam University, Taegu, Republic of Korea Address Correspondence: Min Cheol Chang, MD Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, College of Medicine, Yeungnam University 317-1, Daemyungdong, Namku, Taegu, 705-717, Republic of Korea. E-mail: wheel633@ynu.ac.kr Disclaimer: The present study was supported by a National Research Foundation of Korea grant that was funded by the Korean government (grant no. NRF-2019M3E5D1A02068106).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians. All rights reserved.

Keywords

  • Central post-stroke pain
  • Complex regional pain syndrome
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Neuropathic pain
  • Phantom pain
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Transcranial direct current stimulation
  • Trigeminal neuralgia

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