Pain reduction using transcranial electrostimulation: A double-blind "active placebo" controlled trial

Lidia Gabis*, Bentzion Shklar, Yael Kesner Baruch, Raanan Raz, Eddy Gabis, Daniel Geva

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Objective: To examine the efficacy of transcranial electrical stimulation as a non-invasive method of reducing pain. Design: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Subjects: A total of 119 patients with chronic pain. Methods: Patients were treated with either transcranial electrical stimulation or an active placebo device. Short- and long-term follow-ups were evaluated for treatment efficacy with 4 ordinal scale variables: visual analogue scale (pain level), SLEEP (how often does pain disturb sleep), FREQ (frequency of pain) and MED (frequency of use of medications to relieve pain). Results: Pain level decreased significantly in the transcranial electrical stimulation-treated group compared with the active-placebo group 3 weeks after the end of treatment (p = 0.0017 between groups). Other parameters did not demonstrate significant differences. Three months after the end of treatment this effect was maintained and other treatment parameters showed similar improvements. Conclusion: Transcranial electrical stimulation is an effective non-invasive method for pain relief. The active placebo device has a powerful effect on reported pain, which diminishes in the long-term. The involvement of possible neural mechanisms is discussed.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)256-261
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Rehabilitation Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Mar 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Active placebo
  • Chronic pain
  • Double-blind
  • Electrostimulation
  • Transcranial


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