IMR Press / JIN / Volume 21 / Issue 4 / DOI: 10.31083/j.jin2104110
Open Access Review
Applications of transcranial magnetic stimulation in migraine: evidence from a scoping review
Show Less
1 IRCCS Centro Neurolesi Bonino Pulejo-Piemonte, 98124 Messina, Italy
2 Istituto Clinico Polispecialistico, C.O.T. Cure Ortopediche Traumatologiche s.p.a., 98124 Messina, Italy
3 AOU Policlinico “G. Martino”, Rehabilitation Unit, 98124 Messina, Italy
4 Ospedali Riuniti Villa Sofia-Cervello, Neurology Unit, 90146 Palermo, Italy
5 AOU Policlinico “G. Martino”, Stroke Unit, 98124 Messina, Italy
*Correspondence: (Rocco Salvatore Calabrò)
Academic Editor: Rafael Franco
J. Integr. Neurosci. 2022, 21(4), 110;
Submitted: 15 December 2021 | Revised: 27 January 2022 | Accepted: 8 February 2022 | Published: 7 June 2022
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Migraine: from Bench to Clinical Practice)
Copyright: © 2022 The Author(s). Published by IMR Press.
This is an open access article under the CC BY 4.0 license.

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), a non-invasive brain stimulation method, is trying to emerge as a migraine management strategy for both attack treatment and prevention. This scoping review presents 16 among single-pulse (to manage episodic and chronic migraine) and repetitive TMS randomized clinical trials (to manage chronic migraine). The works we reviewed suggest that TMS may be adopted as add-on therapy in those patients who are refractory to pharmacological therapy only with special arrangements for individualized treatment strategies or research. There are still limited clinical research programs and metaanalysis to promote routinely TMS employment, as TMS has been shown either to have no significant effects for any outcome or to be effective for migraine. These diverging conclusions depend on several biasing factors, including the lack of reliable, large, sham-controlled clinical trials, the dyshomogeneity in study designs (including the area of stimulation, the frequency of stimulation, the number of pulses, pulse intensity, and the number of sessions), patient selection criteria (migraine w/o aura, episodic and chronic migraine; TMS contraindication), and the lack of outcomes homogeneity and long-term real-world efficacy data. Therefore, in the future, it will be important to conduct larger randomized trials to confirm TMS usefulness in migraine management (acute attack and prophylactic treatment), identify those patients who may benefit from TMS, maybe independently of pharmacological treatments (i.e., using TMS as an alternative and not only as an add-on treatment). Otherwise, TMS will play a role in treating migraine only with special arrangements for individualized management strategies or research.

transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)
migraine attack treatment
migraine prophylactic treatment
clinical trial
Fig. 1.
Back to top