Double‐blind, randomized trials conducted to date support the notion that cortical stimulation via tDCS significantly reduces pain associated with many chronic indications, including in patients suffering from fibromyalgia, chronic headaches, and various forms of neuropathic pain. In many of these studies, these effects persisted past the conclusion of stimulation, with studies showing pain improvements lasting up to four months post‐stimulation. Furthermore, stimulation has shown to improve not only the intensity of experienced pain, but the duration of pain symptoms, as well.
There are also multiple double-blind clinical trials that support the notion that anodal tDCS stimulation significantly reduces several types of cravings, including those for cigarettes, food, and marijuana. It has also been shown to improve related aspects of cognitive functioning such as decision making and inhibitory control. Given that a similar addiction pathway, which includes the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) region, is responsible for cravings for nicotine, alcohol and food, as well as for the cognitive deficits seen in drug addicted individuals, it is not surprising that tDCS stimulation to the left DLPFC results in these beneficial effects.
Our literature review for chronic pain management is available for download here and for cravings reduction here.