Transcranial magnetic stimulation for migraine: clinical effects


The objective was to assess the impact of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) on pain and the autonomic nervous system (ANS) in migraine. Fortytwo people [mean age 41.43±11.69 (SD) years, 36 females] were randomised into high vs. low TMS stimulation groups and received 2 brief pulses of TMS. Thirty-three (33/42) individuals had heart-rate variability assessed, before and after stimulation. No group effects were found. Pain decreased by 75%; 32% of people after 1 treatment reported no headache after 24 h. Mean heart rate decreased from 79.05±10.27 to 72.89±11.35 beats/min. The low-frequency (LF) and the high-frequency (HF) areas derived from power spectral analyses increased [mean 6522±1277 to 8315±1009 beats/min2 (LF) (p=0.001) and mean 5600±1568 to 8755±3071 beats/min2 (HF) (p=0.001)]. The LF:HF ratio decreased from mean 1.31±0.51 to 1.13±0.48 (NS). TMS produces immediate, sustained reductions in pain and modification of the ANS.

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Correspondence to B. M. Clarke.

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Clarke, B.M., Upton, A.R.M., Kamath, M.V. et al. Transcranial magnetic stimulation for migraine: clinical effects. J Headache Pain 7, 341–346 (2006).

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Key words

  • Migraine
  • Transcranial magnetic stimulation
  • Pain