Analgesic effects of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation of the motor cortex in neuropathic pain: Influence of theta burst stimulation priming
Article first published online: 16 APR 2012
© 2012 European Federation of International Association for the Study of Pain Chapters
European Journal of Pain
Volume 16, Issue 10, pages 1403–1413, November 2012
How to Cite
Lefaucheur, J.-P., Ayache, S.S., Sorel, M., Farhat, W.H., Zouari, H.G., Ciampi de Andrade, D., Ahdab, R., Ménard-Lefaucheur, I., Brugières, P. and Goujon, C. (2012), Analgesic effects of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation of the motor cortex in neuropathic pain: Influence of theta burst stimulation priming. European Journal of Pain, 16: 1403–1413. doi: 10.1002/j.1532-2149.2012.00150.x
Conflicts of interest
- Issue published online: 4 OCT 2012
- Article first published online: 16 APR 2012
- Manuscript Accepted: 11 MAR 2012
‘Conventional’ protocols of high-frequency repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) delivered to M1 can produce analgesia. Theta burst stimulation (TBS), a novel rTMS paradigm, is thought to produce greater changes in M1 excitability than ‘conventional’ protocols. After a preliminary experiment showing no analgesic effect of continuous or intermittent TBS trains (cTBS or iTBS) delivered to M1 as single procedures, we used TBS to prime a subsequent session of ‘conventional’ 10 Hz-rTMS.
In 14 patients with chronic refractory neuropathic pain, navigated rTMS was targeted over M1 hand region, contralateral to painful side. Analgesic effects were daily assessed on a visual analogue scale for the week after each 10 Hz-rTMS session, preceded or not by TBS priming. In an additional experiment, the effects on cortical excitability parameters provided by single- and paired-pulse TMS paradigms were studied.
Pain level was reduced after any type of rTMS procedure compared to baseline, but iTBS priming produced greater analgesia than the other protocols. Regarding motor cortex excitability changes, the analgesic effects were associated with an increase in intracortical inhibition, whatever the type of stimulation, primed or non-primed.
The present results show that the analgesic effects of ‘conventional’ 10 Hz-rTMS delivered to M1 can be enhanced by TBS priming, at least using iTBS. Interestingly, the application of cTBS and iTBS did not produce opposite modulations, unlike previously reported in other systems. It remains to be determined whether the interest of TBS priming is to generate a simple additive effect or a more specific process of cortical plasticity.