Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

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Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a non-invasive and relatively safe technology where electromagnetic currents in a coil produces magnetic pulses which crosses the cranium and induces neuron depolarization (Defrin et al. 2007). Magnetic stimulation of the motor cortex has been shown to attenuate post-stroke pain (Migita et al. 1995).

Table 19: Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation


Four studies found no significant difference between rTMS and sham rTMS in reducing average pain intensity among people with SCI (Defrin et al. 2007; Jette et al 2013; Kang et al. 2009; Yilmaz et al 2014). One study found that those in the rTMS group had significantly lower worst pain compared to those in the sham rTMS group (Kang et al. 2009).


There is level 1a evidence (from four randomized controlled trials; Jette et al. 2013; Defrin et al. 2007) that rTMS may not significantly reduce average pain intensity post-SCI.

There is level 1b evidence (from one RCT Kang et al. 2009) that rTMS significantly reduces worst pain compared to sham rTMS.

  • Transcranial magnetic stimulation may not reduce post-SCI average pain intensity.Transcranial magnetic stimulation may reduce post-SCI worst pain intensity.