Effects of transcranial direct current stimulation on physical and mental health in older adults with chronic musculoskeletal pain: a randomized controlled trial

Seungmin Kim, Jhosedyn Carolaym Salazar Fajardo, Eunyoung Seo, Chang Gao, Rockhyun Kim, Bum Chul Yoon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: We investigated the effects of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) combined with physical therapy (PT) on pain levels, physical activity levels, quality of life, and depression in older adults with chronic musculoskeletal pain. Methods: Twenty-five older adults (9 males and 16 females), aged between 66 and 86 years (active group 77.2 ± 3.9; sham group 76.6 ± 6.2), volunteers were randomly allocated in the active (active tDCS + PT) and sham groups (sham tDCS + PT), and received the intervention three times per week for 8 weeks. Pain level, physical activity level, depression state, and quality of life were assessed based on the Visual Analog Scale (VAS), Physical Activity Scale for the Elderly (PASE), Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) scale, and Short-Form 36 Health Survey Questionnaire (SF-36), respectively. Measurements were conducted four times: at baseline, mid-intervention, post-intervention, and 1-month follow-up. Results: As a result, at 8 weeks, the active group yielded greater improvements in VAS, BDI, and SF-36 scores than the sham tDCS group. At follow-up, the tDCS group led to a greater improvement in VAS, PASE, and SF-36 scores compared to sham tDCS group (p < 0.05). Conclusion: Our results suggest a beneficial effect of tDCS combined with PT in older adults with chronic musculoskeletal pain in the reduction of pain sensation, increment of physical activity level, increment of the quality of life, and reduction of depression incidents. This opens the possibility the possibility of using tDCS as a regular treatment for this population’s physical and mental health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)959-966
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Geriatric Medicine
Volume13
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Aug

Keywords

  • Chronic musculoskeletal pain
  • Depression
  • Physical therapy
  • Quality of life
  • Transcranial direct current stimulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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