Rehabilitation options to promote neuroplasticity may be enhanced when patients are engaged in motor practice during repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS). Twelve participants completed 3 separate sessions: motor practice, motor practice with rTMS, and rTMS only: motor practice consisted of 30 isometric contractions and subthreshold rTMS was 30, 3-s trains at 10 Hz. Assessments included the Box and Block Test (BBT), force steadiness (10% of the maximum voluntary contraction), and TMS (cortical excitability, intracortical inhibition, and intracortical facilitation). Participants significantly increased BBT scores following the combined condition. Force steadiness improved after all 3 conditions (p < .05). TMS outcomes depended on intervention condition with significant increases in facilitation following the motor practice plus rTMS condition. All interventions influenced motor control, yet are likely modulated differently when combining motor practice plus rTMS. These results help guide the clinical utility of rTMS as an intervention to influence motor control.
Keywords: TMS; motor control; motor practice; noninvasive brain stimulation; rTMS; transcranial magnetic stimulation.