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Tohoku J Exp Med. 2014 Nov;234(3):189-95.

Analgesic effect of transcranial direct current stimulation on central post-stroke pain.

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Department of Physical Therapy, Cheongam College.


Pain that occurs after a stroke lowers the quality of life. Such post-stroke pain is caused in part by the brain lesion itself, called central post-stroke pain. We investigated the analgesic effects of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) in stroke patients through quantitative sensory testing. Fourteen participants with central post-stroke pain (7 female and 7 male subjects) were recruited and were allocated to either tDCS (n = 7) or sham-tDCS (n = 7) group. Their ages ranged from 45 to 55 years. tDCS was administered for 20 min at a 2-mA current intensity, with anodal stimulations were performed at primary motor cortex. The sham-tDCS group was stimulated 30-second current carrying time. Both group interventions were given for 3 days per week, for a period of 3 weeks. Subjective pain was measured using the visual analogue scale (VAS) of 0 to 10. Sensations of cold and warmth, and pain from cold and heat were quantified to examine analgesic effects. The sham-tDCS group showed no statistically significant differences in time. In contrast, tDCS group showed decreased VAS scores and skin temperature (p < 0.05). The threshold temperatures for the sense of cold and pain from cold increased (p < 0.05), and those for the sense of warmth and pain from heat decreased (p < 0.05). Our findings indicate that tDCS improved sensory identification and exerted analgesic effects in the stroke patients with central post-stroke pain.

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