Safety and feasibility of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) combined with sensorimotor retraining in chronic low back pain: a protocol for a pilot randomised controlled trial.
ABSTRACT: INTRODUCTION:Chronic low back pain (LBP) is a common and costly health problem yet current treatments demonstrate at best, small effects. The concurrent application of treatments with synergistic clinical and mechanistic effects may improve outcomes in chronic LBP. This pilot trial aims to (1) determine the feasibility, safety and perceived patient response to a combined transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) and sensorimotor retraining intervention in chronic LBP and (2) provide data to support a sample size calculation for a fully powered trial should trends of effectiveness be present. METHODS AND ANALYSIS:A pilot randomised, assessor and participant-blind, sham-controlled trial will be conducted. Eighty participants with chronic LBP will be randomly allocated to receive either (1) active tDCS + sensorimotor retraining or (2) sham tDCS + sensorimotor retraining. tDCS (active or sham) will be applied to the primary motor cortex for 20?min immediately prior to 60?min of supervised sensorimotor retraining twice per week for 10 weeks. Participants in both groups will complete home exercises three times per week. Feasibility, safety, pain, disability and pain system function will be assessed immediately before and after the 10-week intervention. Analysis of feasibility and safety will be performed using descriptive statistics. Statistical analyses will be conducted based on intention-to-treat and per protocol and will be used to determine trends for effectiveness. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION:Ethical approval has been gained from the institutional human research ethics committee (H10184). Written informed consent will be provided by all participants. Results from this pilot study will be submitted for publication in peer-reviewed journals. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER:ACTRN12616000624482.
Project description:Low back pain (LBP) is a recognized public health problem, impacting up to 80% of US adults at some point in their lives. Patients with LBP are utilizing integrative health care such as spinal manipulation (SM). SM is the therapeutic application of a load to specific body tissues or structures and can be divided into two broad categories: SM with a high-velocity low-amplitude load, or an impulse "thrust", (HVLA-SM) and SM with a low-velocity variable-amplitude load (LVVA-SM). There is evidence that sensorimotor function in people with LBP is altered. This study evaluates the sensorimotor function in the lumbopelvic region, as measured by postural sway, response to sudden load and repositioning accuracy, following SM to the lumbar and pelvic region when compared to a sham treatment.A total of 219 participants with acute, subacute or chronic low back pain are being recruited from the Quad Cities area located in Iowa and Illinois. They are allocated through a minimization algorithm in a 1:1:1 ratio to receive either 13 HVLA-SM treatments over 6 weeks, 13 LVVA-SM treatments over 6 weeks or 2 weeks of a sham treatment followed by 4 weeks of full spine "doctor's choice" SM. Sensorimotor function tests are performed before and immediately after treatment at baseline, week 2 and week 6. Self-report outcome assessments are also collected. The primary aims of this study are to 1) determine immediate pre to post changes in sensorimotor function as measured by postural sway following delivery of a single HVLA-SM or LVVA-SM treatment when compared to a sham treatment and 2) to determine changes from baseline to 2 weeks (4 treatments) of HVLA-SM or LVVA-SM compared to a sham treatment. Secondary aims include changes in response to sudden loads and lumbar repositioning accuracy at these endpoints, estimating sensorimotor function in the SM groups after 6 weeks of treatment, and exploring if changes in sensorimotor function are associated with changes in self-report outcome assessments.This study may provide clues to the sensorimotor mechanisms that explain observed functional deficits associated with LBP, as well as the mechanism of action of SM.This trial is registered in ClinicalTrials.gov, with the ID number of NCT00830596, registered on January 27, 2009. The first participant was allocated on 30 January 2009 and the final participant was allocated on 17 March 2011.
Project description:The clinical use of noninvasive cortical stimulation procedures is hampered by the limited duration of the analgesic effects and the need to perform stimulation in hospital settings. Here, we tested the feasibility and pilot efficacy of an internet-based system for at-home, long-duration, medically controlled transcranial motor cortex stimulation (H-tDCS), via a double-blinded, sham-controlled trial in patients with neuropathic pain refractory to standard-of-care drug therapy. Each patient was first trained at hospital, received a stimulation kit, allotted a password-protected Web space, and completed daily tDCS sessions during 5 weeks, via a Bluetooth connection between stimulator and a minilaptop. Each session was validated and internet-controlled by hospital personnel. Daily pain ratings were obtained during 11 consecutive weeks, and afterwards via iterative visits/phone contacts. Twenty full procedures were completed in 12 consecutive patients (500 daily tDCS sessions, including 20% sham). No serious adverse effects were recorded. Superficial burning at electrode position occurred in 2 patients, and nausea/headache in two others, all of whom wished to pursue stimulation. Six out of the 12 patients achieved satisfactory relief on a scale combining pain scores, drug intake, and quality of life. Daily pain reports correlated with such combined assessment, and differentiated responders from nonresponders without overlap. Clinical improvement in responders could last up to 6 months. Five patients asked to repeat the whole procedure when pain resumed again, with comparable results. At-home, long-duration tDCS proved safe and technically feasible, and provided long-lasting relief in 50% of a small sample of patients with drug-resistant neuropathic pain.
Project description:Background:Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is used for various chronic pain conditions, but experience with tDCS for acute postoperative pain is limited. This study investigated the effect of tDCS vs. sham stimulation on postoperative morphine consumption and pain intensity after thoracotomy. Methods:This is a single-center, prospective, randomized, double-blind, sham-controlled trial in lung cancer patients undergoing thoracotomy under general anesthesia. All patients received patient-controlled (PCA) intravenous morphine and intercostal nerve blocks at the end of surgery. The intervention group (a-tDCS, n = 31) received anodal tDCS over the left primary motor cortex (C3-Fp2) for 20 min at 1.2 mA, on five consecutive days; the control group (n = 31) received sham stimulation. Morphine consumption, number of analgesia demands, and pain intensity at rest, with movement and with cough were recorded at the following intervals: immediately before (T1), immediately after intervention (T2), then every hour for 4 h (?3-?6), then every 6 h (?7-?31) for 5 days. We recorded outcomes on postoperative days 1 and 5 and conducted a phone interview inquiring about chronic pain 1 year later (NCT03005548). Results:A total of 62 patients enrolled, but tDCS was prematurely stopped in six patients. Fifty-five patients (27 a-tDCS, 28 sham) had three or more tDCS applications and were included in the analysis. Cumulative morphine dose in the first 120 h after surgery was significantly lower in the tDCS [77.00 (54.00-123.00) mg] compared to sham group [112.00 (79.97-173.35) mg, p = 0.043, Cohen's d = 0.42]. On postoperative day 5, maximum visual analog scale (VAS) pain score with cough was significantly lower in the tDCS group [29.00 (20.00-39.00) vs. 44.50 (30.00-61.75) mm, p = 0.018], and pain interference with cough was 80% lower [10.00 (0.00-30.00) vs. 50.00 (0.00-70.00), p = 0.013]. One year after surgery, there was no significant difference between groups with regard to chronic pain and analgesic use. Conclusion:In lung cancer patients undergoing thoracotomy, three to five tDCS sessions significantly reduced cumulative postoperative morphine use, maximum VAS pain scores with cough, and pain interference with cough on postoperative day 5, but there was no obvious long-term benefit from tDCS.
Project description:A randomised, assessor- and participant-blind, sham-controlled trial was conducted to assess the safety and feasibility of adding transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) to quadriceps strengthening exercise in knee osteoarthritis (OA), and provide data to inform a fully powered trial. Participants were randomised to receive active tDCS+exercise (AT+EX) or sham tDCS+exercise (ST+EX) twice weekly for 8 weeks whilst completing home exercises twice per week. Feasibility, safety, patient-perceived response, pain, function, pressure pain thresholds (PPTs) and conditioned pain modulation (CPM) were assessed before and after treatment. Fifty-seven people were screened for eligibility. Thirty (52%) entered randomisation and 25 (84%) completed the trial. One episode of headache in the AT+EX group was reported. Pain reduced in both groups following treatment (AT+EX: p<0.001, partial ?2 = 0.55; ST+EX: p = 0.026, partial ?2 = 0.18) but no between-group differences were observed (p = 0.18, partial ?2 = 0.08). Function improved in the AT+EX (p = 0.01, partial ?2 = 0.22), but not the ST+EX (p = 0.16, partial ?2 = 0.08) group, between-group differences did not reach significance (p = 0.28, partial ?2 = 0.052). AT+EX produced greater improvements in PPTs than ST+EX (p<0.05) (superolateral knee: partial ?2 = 0.17; superior knee: partial ?2 = 0.3; superomedial knee: partial ?2 = 0.26). CPM only improved in the AT+EX group but no between-group difference was observed (p = 0.054, partial ?2 = 0.158). This study provides the first feasibility and safety data for the addition of tDCS to quadriceps strengthening exercise in knee OA. Our data suggest AT+EX may improve pain, function and pain mechanisms beyond that of ST+EX, and provides support for progression to a fully powered randomised controlled trial.
Project description:Central sensitization is a driving mechanism in many chronic pain patients, and manifests as hyperalgesia and allodynia beyond any apparent injury. Recent studies have demonstrated analgesic effects of motor cortex (M1) stimulation in several chronic pain disorders, yet its neural mechanisms remain uncertain. We evaluated whether anodal M1 transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) would mitigate central sensitization as measured by indices of secondary hyperalgesia. We used a capsaicin-heat pain model to elicit secondary mechanical hyperalgesia in 27 healthy subjects. In an assessor and subject-blind randomized, sham-controlled, crossover trial, anodal M1 tDCS decreased the intensity of pinprick hyperalgesia more than cathodal or sham tDCS. To elucidate the mechanism driving analgesia, subjects underwent fMRI of painful mechanical stimuli prior to and following induction of the pain model, after receiving M1 tDCS. We hypothesized that anodal M1 tDCS would enhance engagement of a descending pain modulatory (DPM) network in response to mechanical stimuli. Anodal tDCS normalized the effects of central sensitization on neurophysiological responses to mechanical pain in the medial prefrontal cortex, pregenual anterior cingulate cortex, and periaqueductal gray, important regions in the DPM network. Taken together, these results provide support for the hypothesis that anodal M1-tDCS reduces central sensitization-induced hyperalgesia through the DPM network in humans.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Physical activity plays an important role in the management of chronic low back pain (LBP). Engaging in an active lifestyle is associated with a better prognosis. Nevertheless, there is evidence to suggest that patients with chronic LBP are less likely to meet recommended physical activity levels. Furthermore, while exercise therapy has been endorsed by recent clinical practice guidelines, evidence from systematic reviews suggests that its effect on pain and disability are at best moderate and not sustained over time. A limitation of current exercises programmes for chronic LBP is that these programmes are not designed to change patients' behaviour toward an active lifestyle. Therefore, we will investigate the short- and long-term efficacy of a multimodal intervention, consisting of supervised exercises, health coaching and use of an activity monitor (i.e. Fitbit Flex) compared to supervised exercises plus sham coaching and a sham activity monitor on physical activity levels, pain intensity and disability, in patients with chronic, nonspecific LBP. METHODS:This study will be a two-group, single-blind, randomised controlled trial. One hundred and sixty adults with chronic, nonspecific LBP will be recruited. Participants allocated to both groups will receive a group exercise programme. In addition, the intervention group will receive health coaching sessions (i.e. assisting the participants to achieve their physical activity goals) and an activity monitor (i.e. Fitbit Flex). The participants allocated to the control group will receive sham health coaching (i.e. encouraged to talk about their LBP or other problems, but without any therapeutic advice from the physiotherapist) and a sham activity monitor. Outcome measures will be assessed at baseline and at 3, 6 and 12 months post randomisation. The primary outcomes will be physical activity, measured objectively with an accelerometer, as well as pain intensity and disability at 3 months post randomisation. Secondary outcomes will be physical activity, pain intensity and disability at 6 and 12 months post randomisation as well as other self-report measures of physical activity and sedentary behaviour, depression, quality of life, pain self-efficacy and weight-related outcomes at 3, 6, and 12 months post randomisation. DISCUSSION:This study is significant as it will be the first study to investigate whether a multimodal intervention designed to increase physical activity levels reduces pain and disability, and increases physical activity levels compared to a control intervention in patients with chronic LBP. TRIAL REGISTRATION:ClinicalTrials.gov, ID: NCT03200509 . Registered on 28 June 2017.
Project description:INTRODUCTION:Low back pain (LBP) poses a significant burden of disease worldwide, and identifying safe and effective non-pharmacologic treatment options for LBP is a research priority. The aim of this study was to pilot a clinical trial of a portable pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) therapy device for subjects with mixed duration non-specific LBP. METHODS:This work was a randomized, double-blind, sham-controlled, parallel-group study conducted at a chiropractic school outpatient clinic. The primary end point was functional capacity measured by the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) at baseline, 6 weeks, and 12 weeks. Analysis was conducted on the intent-to-treat population and as a trend of change in pain scores over time using the Freidman test of repeated measures. RESULTS:Forty-two participants were randomized to receive usual care plus PEMF therapy or usual care plus sham, and 25 completed the study. Significant improvements in ODI scores from baseline to week 6 were reported in the experimental group (?2?=?14.68, p?<?0.001, compared with patients in the sham group, ?2?=?4.00, p?=?0.135, n.s.). This difference persisted at week-12 follow-up. Adverse events were rare and mild. CONCLUSION:It is feasible to conduct a clinical trial of a PEMF therapy device for non-specific LBP. This work shows that the device was safe and provides preliminary evidence of effectiveness in improving function in patients with non-specific LBP. TRIAL REGISTRATION:ClinicalTrials.gov identifier, NCT03053375. FUNDING:Aerotel Ltd.
Project description:Chronic pain in Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is probably related to maladaptive plasticity of brain areas involved in nociceptive processing. Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) and Peripheral Electrical Stimulation (PES) can modulate cortical excitability and help to control chronic pain. Studies have shown that combined use of tDCS and PES has additive effects. However, to date, no study investigated additive effects of these neuromodulatory techniques on chronic pain in patients with SCD. This protocol describes a study aiming to assess whether combined use of tDCS and PES more effectively alleviate pain in patients with SCD compared to single use of each technique. The study consists of a one-session double blind, block-randomized clinical trial (NCT02813629) in which 128 participants with SCD and femoral osteonecrosis will be enrolled. Stepwise procedures will occur on two independent days. On day 1, participants will be screened for eligibility criteria. On day 2, data collection will occur in four stages: sample characterization, baseline assessment, intervention, and post-intervention assessment. These procedures will last ~5 h. Participants will be divided into two groups according to homozygous for S allele (HbSS) (n = 64) and heterozygous for S and C alleles (HbSC) (n = 64) genotypes. Participants in each group will be randomly assigned, equally, to one of the following interventions: (1) active tDCS + active PES; (2) active tDCS + sham PES; (3) sham tDCS + active PES; and (4) sham tDCS + sham PES. Active tDCS intervention will consist of 20 min 2 mA anodic stimulation over the primary motor cortex contralateral to the most painful hip. Active PES intervention will consist of 30 min sensory electrical stimulation at 100 Hz over the most painful hip. The main study outcome will be pain intensity, measured by a Visual Analogue Scale. In addition, electroencephalographic power density, cortical maps of the gluteus maximus muscle elicited by Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), serum levels of Brain-derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), and Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF) will be assessed as secondary outcomes. Data will be analyzed using ANOVA of repeated measures, controlling for confounding variables.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Despite the multiple available pharmacological and behavioral therapies for the management of chronic phantom limb pain (PLP) in lower limb amputees, treatment for this condition is still a major challenge and the results are mixed. Given that PLP is associated with maladaptive brain plasticity, interventions that promote cortical reorganization such as non-invasive brain stimulation and behavioral methods including transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) and mirror therapy (MT), respectively, may prove to be beneficial to control pain in PLP. Due to its complementary effects, a combination of tDCS and MT may result in synergistic effects in PLP. OBJECTIVE:The objective of this study is to evaluate the efficacy of tDCS and MT as a rehabilitative tool for the management of PLP in unilateral lower limb amputees. METHODS:A prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, factorial, superiority clinical trial will be carried out. Participants will be eligible if they meet the following inclusion criteria: lower limb unilateral traumatic amputees that present PLP for at least 3 months after the amputated limb has completely healed. Participants (N=132) will be randomly allocated to the following groups: (1) active tDCS and active MT, (2) sham tDCS and active MT, (3) active tDCS and sham MT, and (4) sham tDCS and sham MT. tDCS will be applied with the anodal electrode placed over the primary motor cortex (M1) contralateral to the amputation side and the cathode over the contralateral supraorbital area. Stimulation will be applied at the same time of the MT protocol with the parameters 2 mA for 20 minutes. Pain outcome assessments will be performed at baseline, before and after each intervention session, at the end of MT, and in 2 follow-up visits. In order to assess cortical reorganization and correlate with clinical outcomes, participants will undergo functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) before and after the intervention. RESULTS:This clinical trial received institutional review board (IRB) approval in July of 2015 and enrollment started in December of 2015. To date 2 participants have been enrolled. The estimate enrollment rate is about 30 to 35 patients per year; thus we expect to complete enrollment in 4 years. CONCLUSIONS:This factorial design will provide relevant data to evaluate whether tDCS combined with MT is more effective than each therapy alone, as well as with no intervention (sham/sham) in patients with chronic PLP after unilateral lower limb amputation. In addition, this randomized clinical trial will help to investigate the neurophysiological mechanisms underlying the disease, which could potentially provide relevant findings for further management of this chronic condition and also help to optimize the use of this novel intervention. TRIAL REGISTRATION:Clinicaltrials.gov NCT02487966; https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02487966 (Archived by WebCite at http://www.webcitation.org/6i3GrKMyf).
Project description:<h4>Objective</h4>To determine if infrared laser acupuncture (LA) may have a specific effect in reducing pain and disability in treatment of chronic low back pain (LBP).<h4>Methods</h4>This was a double-blind sham laser controlled trial performed in general practices in Perth, Western Australia. The participants were 144 adults with chronic non-specific LBP. They were randomised to receive eight once-weekly treatments. Laser machines (20 mW, 840 nm diode, power density 0.1 W/cm(2)) stimulated points in three treatment groups: sham (0 joules/point), low dose (0.2 J/point) and high dose (0.8 joules/point). Participants were followed-up at 1 and 6 weeks, and 6 and 12 months post treatment. Primary outcomes were pain (Numerical Pain Rating Scale (NPRS)) and disability (Oswestry Disability Inventory (ODI)) at 6 weeks post treatment. Secondary outcomes included numerical rating scale for limitation of activity, global assessment of improvement, analgesic usage and adverse effects after treatment.<h4>Results</h4>The analysis showed no difference between sham and the laser groups at 6 weeks for pain or disability. There was a significant reduction in mean pain and disability in all groups at 6 weeks (p<0.005); NPRS: sham (-1.5 (95% CI -2.1 to -0.8)), low dose (-1.3 (-2.0 to -0.8)), high dose (-1.1 (-1.7 to -0.5)). ODI: sham (-4.0 (-7.1 to -1.0)), low dose (-4.1, (-6.7 to -1.5)), high dose (-2.6 (-5.7 to 0.5)). All secondary outcomes also showed clinical improvement over time but with no differences between groups.<h4>Conclusions</h4>LA using energy density range (0-4 J/cm(2)) for the treatment of chronic non-specific LBP resulted in clinical improvement unrelated to laser stimulation.<h4>Trial registration</h4>http://www.anzctr.org.au ACTRN12610000043033.