What is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation and How Can It Be Used?
What is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation?
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, otherwise known as TMS, uses magnetic coils in order to stimulate nerve cells in the brain. It can be used to alleviate symptoms of both depression and migraines when others haven’t proven to work. This form of therapy can also have positive impact on a variety of other neurological issues.
TMS is considered a noninvasive procedure, and has the potential to alter the brains responses safely and effectively. This procedure can be performed in a single or repetitive pulse. Single pulse is approved in the US for migraine management, while there are only a handful of Neurologists that are trained in using repetitive TMS for management of major depression. When used properly as a form of therapy, depression symptoms can improve or disappear completely. It can be a great option for those that have depression symptoms including ones that have lasted for longer than several years, detachment from reality, and no response to Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).
How does Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation work?
TMS therapy is performed by placing electromagnetic coils near the forehead on the scalp, which delivers stimulation of nerve cells through a painless magnetic pulse. These pulses are centered on nerve cells in sections of the brain that control both depression and mood. Patients that are undergoing TMS therapy usually undergo a series of about four to six weeks of daily sessions for five days of the week. These treatments are done at the doctor’s office and the patient is treated as an outpatient.
There are some common mild side effects that might come along with the treatment, including headache, tingling, twitching, or spasms of the facial muscles, scalp discomfort at the site of stimulation, or even lightheadedness. However, it is also common for the patient to return to all normal activities, including working and driving immediately after the treatment.
What to Expect During a TMS Procedure
Procedures last around forty minutes, in which the patient will be wearing earplugs and have magnetic coils placed against their forehead. While the procedure is painless, there are clicking sounds that come from the machine as well as tapping on the forehead for mapping. An experienced doctor will make sure to administer the right dose of electromagnetic pulses that meet your motor threshold and comfort levels.
In conclusion, TMS can be a great option for those that have tried many other options without success. It is most important to schedule an appointment with a professional to see if this option of therapy can be a safe and effective choice for your symptoms.