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Brain Stimul. 2009 Apr;2(2):103-7. doi: 10.1016/j.brs.2008.09.009. Epub 2009 Feb 28.

A preliminary study of transcranial direct current stimulation for the treatment of refractory chronic pelvic pain.

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  • 1Summa Health System Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Akron, Ohio, USA.



The modulatory effects of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) appear beneficial for different chronic pain syndromes; however, it is unclear whether this method can be used to treat refractory chronic pelvic pain.


The objective of this preliminary study was to determine the efficacy and safety of tDCS for the management of refractory chronic pelvic pain.


Seven patients with chronic pelvic pain having failed standard medical or surgical therapy underwent a crossover, double-blind sham controlled tDCS treatment protocol consisting of 1 mA applied for 20 minutes on two consecutive days with 2 weeks of follow-up symptom recording. Symptoms were recorded using multiple scoring systems, including visual analog scales for different pains, as well as organ-specific symptom scales. Comparison between active and sham treatment was performed by using paired t tests.


Overall and pelvic pain scores were significantly lower after active compared with sham treatment, as were disability and traumatic stress scores. No patient discontinued the study because of side effects, which were infrequent.


Active tDCS treatment induces a modest pain reduction in refractory chronic pelvic pain patients as compared with sham tDCS treatment. These results can guide the design and implementation of further studies investigating this method of neuromodulation for the treatment of refractory chronic pelvic pain.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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