Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS therapy) is a non-invasive way of stimulating your brain. For this reason, it’s only used after things like antidepressants and psychotherapy have proven ineffective.
TMS treatment is delivered via an electromagnetic coil that’s placed over the region of your brain that’s involved with creating feelings of depression. This device generates a magnetic field that’s highly concentrated. Throughout the treatment, this field is rapidly switched on and off. In doing so the coils are able to produce electrical activity in your nerve cells. This will help to stimulate the area as well as any areas that lie nearby.
A TMS treatment session will usually last 30 – 40 minutes but they can vary in length. Typically you’ll receive a treatment 5 days a week for up to 6 weeks. You may then need a few additional sessions in order to taper off TMS therapy.
What to Expect From Your First Treatment
Although TMS therapy must be prescribed by a physician who specializes in TMS treatment the treatment itself is typically administered by a technician. During your initial session, your motor threshold will be determined by administering a few brief pulses that are used to determine the minimum amount of power that it takes to make your thumb twitch. This will then be used in personalizing your TMS treatment settings and determining how much energy is necessary to stimulate your brain’s cells.
Your treatment will begin with placing a coil on your head that’s personalized to fit your measurements. Once in place, you’ll start to hear clicking sounds and you may feel some tapping. After the initial session, you may start to experience some relief. However, it typically takes at least three weeks of treatment before you’ll find some relief.
Who Benefits From TMS Therapy
Researchers have discovered that up to 60% of people who have tried antidepressant medications haven’t received any benefit from doing so. These are the people who may do well with TMS therapy. However, it’s important to understand that if you have any type of metal in the object in or near your head it isn’t safe to receive TMS treatment. This includes aneurysm clips, aneurysm coils, metallic implants, stents in your neck or your brain, shrapnel or bullet fragments in or near your head, or any facial tattoos that have used metallic or magnetic-sensitive ink. However, if you have braces or any type of dental filling you can still receive this treatment.
The Side Effects of Treatment
This treatment is considered to be non-invasive. What this means is that it is not a surgery nor will it affect any other parts of your body in the same way that medication might because it’s non-systemic and highly targeted. You also won’t need to be put under anesthesia or stay in the hospital while receiving this treatment. In fact, most people tolerate it so well that they’re able to drive themselves home and return to their daily activities immediately.
In about half the patients who receive this treatment, there’s been the complaint of having a mild headache. This is something that can easily be treated with over-the-counter medication. It’s also important to note that these headaches lessen over the course of the treatment.
Some patients have also reported having issues with their hearing that have been caused by the device’s noise. This is temporary and can be managed by wearing earplugs while receiving treatment.
Unfortunately, there’s also a very low number of people who’ve suffered from seizures after receiving treatment. This is why anyone who’s prone to seizures, has been diagnosed with epilepsy, has had a head injury, or suffers from serious neurological issues shouldn’t get this treatment.
Additional Benefits of TMS Treatment
TMS therapy is сleared by the FDA for use in adults with PTSD, neuropathic pain, fibromyalgia, short-term smoking cessation, or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). However, it’s most commonly used in the treatment of depression. Of course, this is just one of many tools that can help. Nevertheless, knowing that the FDA says that TMS treatment is сleared, safe, and largely effective is very beneficial to a lot of patients.
Now that you have a better understanding of TMS therapy, if you’d like to give it a try contact TMS Advantage in Clearwater and St Petersburg, FL today.