The Effect of Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation on Chronic Neuropathic Pain in Patients with Multiple Sclerosis

Dr Maryam Zoghi1, Dr Jamie Young2, Professor Mary Galea2, Professor Fary Khan2

1Latrobe University, Bundoora, Australia, 2The University of Melbourne, , Australia

Abstract: 

Aim: The aim of this study was to assess the effect of a five-day application of within-session repeated a-tDCS on neuropathic pain levels in patients with MS.

Method: A total of 30 participants were recruited in the study (n=15 in sham and active groups). A-tDCS was applied via a pair of surface electrodes (5cm x 7cm). The active and return electrodes were placed over primary motor cortex contralateral to the side of pain and the supraorbital area contralateral to the stimulated motor cortex respectively. Participants received 2 sessions of 10 minutes a-tDCS each day, 25 minutes apart for 5 consecutive days. The Visual Analogue Scale and Neuropathic Pain Scale were completed at the beginning and at the end of each treatment session to assess the pain level. The results showed that the pain level decreased significantly in active group compared to the sham group for up to 2 weeks.

Significance of the findings to allied health: patients with MS consider “pain” as one of the most important factors in their overall health-related quality of life and disability.  Pharmacologic interventions are non-specific, and at target doses may cause drowsiness and decreased capacity to carry out activities that require high executive functioning. A-tDCS is a non-invasive technique with no or minimal side effects which can be used to decrease their pain level and eventually improve their mobility level and quality of their lives.

Biography: 

Dr Maryam Zoghi is an academic physiotherapist and neuroscientist with a long-standing interest in brain function particularly aspects relevant to brain excitability, motor control, sensory-motor integration and neuroplasticity. Her area of research expertise is within the field of “neuroscience”. She has one patent, attracted over $800,000 to run her research projects and published 60 peer-reviewed journal articles and 8 book chapters in her area of expertise.