Relieving pain in rheumatology patients: Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), a developing approach.
Joint Bone Spine. 2013 Jun 17;
Authors: Pérocheau D, Laroche F, Perrot S
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a non-invasive method for activating specific areas of the brain. There are two variants, repetitive TMS (rTMS) and direct TMS. Rapid changes in an electrical current induce a magnetic field, which in turn induces an electrical current in a nearby conductor. When a coil is positioned over the brain, rTMS delivers very brief and painless magnetic pulses to the brain. Initially, rTMS was developed as a treatment for depression. Since then, potential indications have been extended to the treatment of chronic pain, most notably in patients with rheumatic diseases. Thus, active research is being conducted into rTMS effects in fibromyalgia, chronic low back pain, and type I complex regional pain syndrome. Studies have established that rTMS is safe; provides pain relief, at least in the short-term; and improves the psychological correlates of chronic pain. These data support further development efforts with the goal of using rTMS in patients with chronic pain, including those with rheumatic diseases. French physicians have shown a high level of interest in rTMS, and the first French recommendations for using this method were issued in 2011. Further research is needed to determine the optimal stimulation parameters, session frequency, and session duration, as well as the best indications. Physicians who see many patients with chronic pain, such as rheumatologists, should be aware of this developing non-pharmacological and safe treatment modality, which can be of considerable help to their patients.
PMID: 23787057 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]