Effectiveness of Unihemispheric Concurrent Dual-Site Stimulation over M1 and Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex Stimulation on Pain Processing: A Triple Blind Cross-Over Control Trial.
Abstract: Background: Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) of the motor cortex (M1) produces short-term inhibition of pain. Unihemispheric concurrent dual-site tDCS (UHCDS-tDCS) over the M1 and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) has greater effects on cortical excitability than when applied alone, although its effect on pain is unknown. The aim of this study was to test if anodal UHCDS-tDCS over the M1 and DLPFC in healthy participants could potentiate conditioned pain modulation (CPM) and diminish pain temporal summation (TS). Methods: Thirty participants were randomized to receive a sequence of UHCDS-tDCS, M1-tDCS and sham-tDCS. A 20 min 0.1 mA/cm2 anodal or sham-tDCS intervention was applied to each participant during three test sessions, according to a triple-blind cross-over trial design. For the assessment of pain processing before and after tDCS intervention, the following tests were performed: tourniquet conditioned pain modulation (CPM), pressure pain temporal summation (TS), pressure pain thresholds (PPTs), pressure pain tolerance, mechanosensitivity and cold hyperalgesia. Motor function before and after tDCS intervention was assessed with a dynamometer to measure maximal isometric grip strength. Results: No statistically significant differences were found between groups for CPM, pressure pain TS, PPT, pressure pain tolerance, neural mechanosensitivity, cold hyperalgesia or grip strength (p > 0.05). Conclusions: Neither UHCDS-tDCS nor M1-tDCS facilitated CPM or inhibited TS in healthy subjects following one intervention session.
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