Self-administered transcranial direct current stimulation for pain in older adults with knee osteoarthritis: A randomized controlled study

Martorella et al, 2022. Brain Stimulation.

  • A randomized clinical study on the feasibility and efficacy of home-based self-administered tDCS in older adults with knee osteoarthritis (OA).
  • One hundred twenty participants aged 50-85 years with knee OA pain were randomly assigned to receive fifteen daily sessions of 2 mA tDCS for 20 min (n=60) or sham tDCS (n=60) over 3 weeks with remote supervision via telehealth.
  • Clinical pain intensity was measured by the Numeric Rating Scale and Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index. Data on the tDCS experience was also collected via a questionnaire.
  • Active tDCS significantly reduced pain intensity compared to sham tDCS after completing the fifteen daily sessions (Cohen’s d=1.20; p-value < 0.0001). Participants showed high levels of satisfaction with their tDCS experience. No adverse events were reported.
  • Home-based self-administered tDCS is feasible and reduces clinical pain intensity in older adults with knee OA, which can increase its accessibility.

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