A study published in The Journal of Pain suggests that transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) administered to the scalp may help stimulate the brain and reduce the severity of phantom limb pain.

The study involved 54 patients who required amputations due to landmine explosions, who received either rTMS treatment or a placebo. The researchers, from Massachusetts General Hospital and Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, compared the results.

“In our current study, results showed that treatment with rTMS for 2 weeks induced a clinically significant pain reduction in 70% of traumatic amputees with phantom limb pain up to 15 days after treatment with no serious side effects,” says co-author Ronald G. Garcia, MD, PhD, from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, in a media release from the American Pain Society.

The authors also note in the release that the pain relief observed could be explained by the potential effect of rTMS over the central pathophysiological mechanisms related to PLP.

The Journal of Pain is published by the American Pain Society.

[Source(s): American Pain Society, Newswise]