what is transcranial magnetic stimulation

Learning More About TMS

What Is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Treatment

Depression is the leading cause of disability for Americans aged 15-44, and sometimes conventional treatments like antidepressants and psychotherapy don’t help. ¹ However, there is a newer treatment available – transcranial magnetic stimulation treatment (TMS). It’s a bit of a mouthful and might sound a bit scary, but it has been shown to help those with depression who have exhausted other routine treatments. Let’s find out more about TMS.

What Is TMS?

TMS, or transcranial magnetic stimulation treatment, is a type of noninvasive brain stimulation therapy. TMS uses electromagnetic pulses to stimulate nerve cells to improve symptoms of neurological or mental health disorders. TMS is typically used to treat depression and has been shown to help those who have had little success with antidepressants and psychotherapy.

How Does It Work?

TMS works by applying powerful magnetic fields to specific parts of the brain that are involved in depression. By targeting the activity of the central nervous system in this way, TMS can alleviate symptoms of depression. The machinery operates outside the body, so it is completely noninvasive and doesn’t require anesthesia.

What Are The Benefits?

When used to treat depression, research has shown that TMS can help alleviate symptoms by stimulating nerve cells and increasing activity in the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain involved with depression symptoms. ²  The success rate of TMS treatment for depression is encouraging, with response rates for depression between 30-64%. ³

As TMS is mostly used to treat depression, much of the research into its effectiveness is focused on this. However, the treatment has also been shown to help people with the following conditions:

  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Schizophrenia
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Multiple sclerosis

TMS could also be a more suitable treatment for children and teenagers, as young people are more likely to develop adverse side effects from antidepressants.

Is It Safe?

TMS treatment is considered safe, but it isn’t for everyone. It may not be appropriate for people with epilepsy, a history of head injury, or other serious neurologic issues due to the small risk of seizures. People who have metal in their head, such as plates, neck or brain stents, cochlear implants, facial tattoos with metallic ink, or permanent piercings, should also avoid TMS.

Are There Any Side Effects?

Like any procedure, there is the potential for side effects, but with TMS, the risk of these is low. The most common side effect is a mild headache during or after treatment. Other side effects that go away soon after treatment include

  • Lightheadedness
  • Scalp and/or neck pain
  • Sleepiness
  • Tingling
  • Facial twitching
  • Seizures are extremely rare but serious)

In Conclusion

TMS treatment can be effective for people with depression who have tried more conventional treatments with little success. It has few side effects, but it isn’t suitable for everyone. If you want to find out more about TMS, our highly trained team here at Valbuena 360 Wellness can help. Call or visit our website for more info valbuenawellness.com

References:

  1. https://nndc.org/facts/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4492646/
  3. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41398-020-01055-2
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