Center for Pain and Headache Research - VA San Diego Healthcare System
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VA San Diego Healthcare System


Center for Pain and Headache Research

The Center for Pain and Headache Research (CPHR) is dedicated to improve the quality of life for the veterans and their caregivers via basic, translational, and clinical research in pain and headache. The facility is associated with a variety of experts in the fields of pain management, neuroimaging, data analysis, and neuropsychology with a focus on serving our veterans and active military members.

What is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)?
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation or TMS, is non-invasive, utilizing magnetic fields to stimulate brain cells in a target area. It is currently FDA approved for treating depression symptoms and migraine headaches.

Our YouTube video details TMS’s uses, benefits, and walks you through the process of receiving and completing treatment.

Watch this video to see the impact TMS treatment had on one veteran.

Our Current Research

  • rTMS in Alleviating Pain and Co-Morbid Symptoms in Gulf War Veterans Illness (GWVI).
    This study aims to assess the effect of repetitive TMS (rTMS) on alleviating headache, joint and muscle pain, and co-morbid symptoms of Gulf War veterans. NCT04046536
    • Must be a veteran (18-65 years old) who served in the Gulf War between 1990-1991
    • Must experience persistent symptoms like headaches, migraines, and overall daily muscle and joint pain.
    • 15 visits over 3 months
    • Compensation of up to $550
  • Phantom Limb Pain Research Study.  This study will assess the effect of repetitive TMS (rTMS) with and without theta burst stimulation (TBS) in treating phantom limb pain.
    • Must be 18-50 years old
    • Have phantom limb pain due to amputation
    • 7 visits over 2 months

If you are interested in the studies, please contact our lab. If you are not interested in participating in a study, but still interested in receiving TMS treatment, please contact your primary care physician to schedule an evaluation with the La Jolla TMS Pain Clinic.

Recently Published Studies

  1. The prevalence of headaches, pain, and other associated symptoms in different Persian Gulf deployment periods and deployment durations
  2. rTMS for Suppressing Neuropathic Pain: A Meta-Analysis
  3. Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation in Managing Mild Traumatic Brain Injury-Related Headaches
  4. rTMS in Alleviating Mild TBI Related Headaches - A Case Series
  5. Diminished Supraspinal Pain Modulation in Patients with Mild Traumatic Brain Injury
  6. Left Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex rTMS in Alleviating MTBI Related Headaches and Depressive Symptoms
  7. Pain-related white matter tract abnormalities in mild traumatic brain injury patients with persistent headache
  8. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation for Pain, Headache, and Comorbid Depression: INS-NANS Expert Consensus Panel Review and Recommendation
  9. Exposure reporting disparity in Gulf War Registry-related clinical assessments

Media/In the News

For questions and additional information, please call the Center for Pain and Headache Research at (858) 210-8908 or send an email to

External Link Disclaimer:  This page contains links that will take you outside of the Department of Veterans Affairs website.  VA does not endorse and is not responsible for the content of the linked websites.

Contact Info


  • Center for Pain and Headache Research
    Bldg. 23 - VMRF
    San Diego VAMC

Contact Number(s)

  • 858-210-8908

Hours of Operation

  • 8:30 am - 5:00 pm, Mon-Fri