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Abstract Details

Treatment of Medication-Resistant Neuropathic Pain in a Tetraplegic Patient Using Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS): A case report
P9 - Poster Session 9 (5:30 PM-6:30 PM)

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a non-invasive method of neuromodulation currently FDA-approved for the treatment of depression, but has also shown promising results in treating neuropathic pain. Given the risks of invasive neuromodulation and the dangers of long-term opioid use, especially in the face of an opioid crisis, it is imperative to find an effective treatment with minimal side effects.

The patient is a 74-year old tetraplegic Caucasian man who suffers from severe medication-resistant neuropathic pain following a spinal cord injury. TMS treatment was initiated, using a two-part protocol consisting of high-frequency (10 Hz) stimulation of the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) followed by low-frequency (5 Hz) stimulation of the primary motor (M1) cortex. Patient received daily treatment for the first week and decreased in frequency as treatment continued. Pain was measured using the Visual Analog Scale and tracked over 13 weeks (currently ongoing).
Patient’s pain level before beginning treatment was 6.35/10. Within the first week of treatment, his baseline pain level was reduced to 4.19/10. The lowest pain immediately following treatment was 1.9/10, a 70.1% decrease in pain scores. During the initial week of treatments, the patient reported that pain relief lasted for a few hours immediately following treatment. As treatment continued, he reported experiencing progressively longer relief, and also decreased his dosage of opioids due to the pain relief from the rTMS treatment.

The pain protocol reduced medication-resistant neuropathic pain in our patient, as measured by the Visual Analog Scale as well as a decrease in opioid usage. Analgesic effects were additive with continual treatment. TMS treatment is non-invasive and could be administered without moving the patient from his wheelchair. The significant, lasting decrease in pain reported by the patient supports the need for further clinical studies of combined M1-rTMS and DLPFC-rTMS treatment for neuropathic pain.

Lingxuan Li
Miss Li has nothing to disclose.
Joshua Kuluva, MD (Piedmont Neuroscience Center ) Dr. Kuluva has received personal compensation in the range of $50,000-$99,999 for serving as an officer or member of the Board of Directors for Piedmont Neuroscience Center.
Gabrielle Paras (Piedmont Neuroscience Center) Ms. Paras has nothing to disclose.
Sam Mohammad (Piedmont Neuroscience Center) Mr. Mohammad has nothing to disclose.