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Papers of the Week

Papers: 23 Mar 2024 - 29 Mar 2024

2024 Mar 20



Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation combined with sling exercise modulates the motor cortex in patients with chronic low back pain.


Li X, Lu S, Ge L, Li Z, Chen R, Zu Y, Fu R, Li L, Wang C


The study aims to explore the effects of combining repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) with sling exercise (SE) intervention in patients with chronic low back pain (CLBP). This approach aims to directly stimulate brain circuits and indirectly activate trunk muscles to influence motor cortex plasticity. However, the impact of this combined intervention on motor cortex organization and clinical symptom improvement is still unclear, as well as whether it is more effective than either intervention alone. To investigate this, patients with CLBP were randomly assigned to three groups: SE/rTMS, rTMS alone, and SE alone. Motor cortical organization, numerical pain rating scale (NPRS), Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), and postural balance stability were measured before and after a 2-week intervention. The results showed statistically significant differences in the representative location of multifidus on the left hemispheres, as well as in NPRS and ODI scores, in the combined SE/rTMS group after the intervention. When compared to the other two groups, the combined SE/rTMS group demonstrated significantly different motor cortical organization, sway area, and path range from the rTMS alone group, but not from the SE alone group. These findings highlight the potential benefits of a combined SE/rTMS intervention in terms of clinical outcomes and neuroadaptive changes compared to rTMS alone. However, there was no significant difference between the combined intervention and SE alone. Therefore, our research does not support the use of rTMS as a standalone treatment for CLBP. Our study contributed to optimizing treatment strategies for individuals suffering from CLBP.