Site Specific Project

Spaulding-Harvard Spinal Cord Injury (SH-SCI) Study: Effects of tDCS on chronic pain in spinal cord injury.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Felipe Fregni
Study Contact: Sandra Carvalho - This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

This study is investigating a non-invasive method of brain stimulation (Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation- tDCS) for the relief of chronic pain due to a previous spinal cord injury.

During tDCS, we use a small, handheld, battery-powered device. We connect this device to two sponges that are soaked in salt-water (saline) - these sponges are called "electrodes." Using two large rubber bands, we secure the sponges to the scalp. When we turn the device on, a small amount of current travels from the device, through the sponges and to the scalp. The amount of current is very small. Most commonly, people feel a slight itching or tingling underneath the electrodes. For most, the sensation fades a short time later.

For this study, the stimulation will last for 20 minutes each day. In the study, you will receive either active stimulation or sham stimulation (placebo). There is a 50% chance that you will receive the active stimulation. Both the active and sham stimulation feel exactly the same. We use the sham stimulation to see if the results of our study are due to the device, or due to other reasons.

For this study, we are also offering an open-label treatment to patients who receive sham stimulation during their initial participation. Patients may re-enroll and receive 10 sessions of active stimulation.

Time Commitment:The study takes about 6 months to complete, with a total of 21 study visits. In addition to tDCS, the study includes questionnaires and long-term follow up about your levels of pain, general quality of life, and mood.

Population:Males and females ages 18 and over with neuropathic pain. This study is open to all types of pain (whether early pain, or chronic pain) Patients must not have metal implants in the skull region (spinal implants and below are OK).

More about our current studies on pain in SCI - using tDCS:

iconResearch on Pain in SCI (non-invasive stimulation)

Related Research Publications:

icon A sham controlled phase II trial of tDCS for pain in SCI
iconA systematic review on reporting and assessment of adverse effects associated with tDCS