ORIGINAL RESEARCH| Volume 103, ISSUE 2, P245-254, February 2022

Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation Associated With Functional Exercise Program for Treating Fibromyalgia: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Published:September 01, 2021DOI:



      To investigate the effects of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) associated with functional exercise on pain, functional performance, psychological symptoms, and quality of life of patients with fibromyalgia (FM).


      Randomized controlled trial. Participants were randomized by blocks into 2 groups: tDCS associated with functional exercise (n=17) and sham-tDCS associated with functional exercise (n=14).


      Laboratory of neuromuscular performance in the department of physical therapy.


      Women with FM (N=31) according to American College of Rheumatology-2010 criteria.


      Anodal tDCS or sham-tDCS was applied over the left motor cortex for 5 consecutive days during the first week of intervention (2 mA; 20min). All volunteers also engaged in 8 weeks of functional exercises 3 times per week.

      Main Outcome Measures

      Pain intensity, functional performance, psychological symptoms, and quality of life were assessed pre-exercise and immediately after the first, fourth, and eighth weeks of intervention.


      Pain intensity, functional performance, psychological symptoms, and quality of life increased significantly in both groups (P<.05); however, no significant differences between groups were found in all outcomes (P>.05).


      tDCS associated with functional exercises did not enhance the effects of physical exercise on pain, functional performance, psychological symptoms, and quality of life of patients with FM.


      List of abbreviations:

      6MWT (6-minute walk test), ηp2 (partial eta squared), ANOVA (analysis of variance), DLPFC (dorsolateral prefrontal cortex), FM (fibromyalgia), QOL (quality of life), PPT (pressure pain threshold), tDCS (transcranial direct current stimulation), tdCS/E (tDCS associated with functional exercise), Sham/E (sham-tDCS associated with functional exercise), VAS (visual analog scale)
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