About this Research Topic
Chronic pain is a major global health issue. It commonly presents as a result of an injury or disease; however, it is considered a separate condition due to its multifactorial and intricate pathophysiology, not merely an accompanying symptom of other diseases. It is one of the most common reasons adults seek medical care, and it has been linked to impairment in daily life activities, opioid use disorders, mood disorders, and poor perceived health or reduced quality of life. In most cases, chronic pain is difficult to manage, and the current treatment modalities have reported frequent and serious adverse events.
One new treatment option is the use of neuromodulation techniques such as transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), and vagal nerve stimulation. However, although the positive evidence on these interventions' efficacy and safety is growing, recent meta-analyses have reported a high within-and between-study variability and small to moderate effect sizes, hampering their clinical translation. Overall, our current state of knowledge is inadequate to make firm conclusions on the best location, stimulation parameters, outcomes selection, and predictive biomarkers for neuromodulatory interventions in the pain field. Also, it is uncertain the mechanism driving the analgesic effects. Therefore, there is a need for treatment protocol and outcomes optimization of neuromodulation interventions for pain management to harness the potential of these new techniques.
For this Research Topic, we define pain neuromodulation as a non-invasive or invasive procedure or technique that results in direct or indirect brain activity changes in areas likely to be involved in pain processing. We welcome submissions of original research, review articles, and case reports addressing, but not limited to, the following topics:
• Standardization of stimulation parameters for pain neuromodulation (including montage, intensity, duration, etc.).
• Combination of neuromodulation techniques with behavioral treatments in the pain field.
• Home-based neuromodulatory interventions for pain management.
• Pain-related outcome selection and optimization in neuromodulation trials.
• Prognostic and predictive biomarkers for pain neuromodulation.
Keywords: Neuromodulation, Non-Invasive Brain Stimulation, Chronic Pain, Pain Medicine, Biomarkers.
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