Chronic or severe pain can range from mild to excruciating, felt in brief moments, be gradual in pain, or reside in a continuous manner or in episodic attacks. This pain can usually last more than 6 months, depending on its cause. Also, chronic pain can physically affect a person, their mood, performance at work or school, and even their intellectual and cognitive functions.
Chronic pain is one of many medical mysteries known to man. Doctors have their own limitations in treating this chronic pain, its effective treatment and different kinds of dilemmas. Chronic pain can result in other different disorders like anxieties, worries, depression and poor cognitive performance.
Pain is one harsh sensation that can happen to a person. Commonly experience inside body tissues, but most studies revealed that chronic pain affects the lower back pain, neck pain, stomach, head, pelvic and other areas of the body. But with a proper psycho-physiological assessment, pain can significantly improve even be eliminated.
Unfortunately, many people suffering from chronic pain don’t have any idea how to address their suffering. Not all conventional treatment to chronic pain can benefit everyone. Prescription medications that contain opioids commonly lead to drug addiction.
Signs and Symptoms of Chronic Pain
Signs and symptoms of chronic pain vary for everyone. Chronic pain has certain kinds of severity and source which makes it difficult to diagnose and treat. However, some signs and manifestations are as follows: continuous pain, from cute to chronic pain, an electrical sensation, aches, intellectual disorders like low self-confidence, easy to anger, stress, worries, anxieties and many more.
Causes or Triggers of Chronic pain
There is no single specific factor that cause chronic pain. But there are certain factors that can trigger the disorder such as cases of infection, injury, and different illnesses.
Treating chronic pain includes taking medicines for the routine relief; doctors for surgery or operation can prescribe medications for a certain medical procedure. Some include alternative therapies like acupuncture and other traditional practices. But chronic pain treatment will depend to a certain extent on its cause.
Sadly, long-term use of these conventional treatments often leads to drug tolerance and drug addiction. As the rise of chronic pain disorders among people across the globe, the need for a safe and alternative treatment increases.
TMS for Chronic Pain
About 20 years ago, scientists develop Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation as a safe and alternative treatment for major depression. Due to its success, experts continue to stretch its parameters for treating other kinds of disorders.
Today, TMS could offer patients suffering from chronic pain their long waited relief from the discomfort. TMS can work directly on regions of the brain associated with pain. It can provide a non-invasive and non-systemic approach, avoiding adverse side effects associated with pain medication drugs.
Some painful sensation responds accordingly to antidepressants, anticonvulsants, and opioid agonists. But these drugs also carry deadly side effects. So there is still a growing need for a safe and effective therapeutic option.
Fortunately, TMS provides effective and fast relief of chronic pain using electromagnetic waves targeting the brain cells associated with pain. It’s an affordable and simple procedure and it gives no dangerous side effects to the body. TMS uses magnetic stimulation of brain nerve cells that are related to chronic pain. These waves can modulate cortical excitability and at the same time inhibit pain perception in the brain. This method can significantly improve symptoms of chronic pain in patients.
The TMS machine uses a coil placed near on top of the head to stimulate the cortical regions of the brain. This strategic location along with the correct threshold can effectively stimulate brain cells. The procedure is safe and does not elicit adverse effects. Some TMS clinics use H-coils and used to stimulate the lower-limb motor cortex, an area in the brain tucked deep within the medial longitudinal fissure that controls motor skills. One study shows that deep TMS has significant results to patients suffering from diabetic neuropathic pain. Experts saw improvement in relieving chronic pain symptoms in these patients.
As a non-invasive procedure, it does not need any hospitalization or anesthesia. Most of its side effects are well tolerated and diminishes over time as treatment session continues. Treatments usually take place inside the doctor’s office and patients are kept wide awake. TMS does not require any anesthesia or similar drugs; patients can easily go back to their normal daily routine after each session. This makes TMS as an ideal treatment option for patients with a strict schedule to follow.
What is TMS?
Transcranial magnetic stimulation or TMS is a non-invasive medical treatment that uses a magnetic field to stimulate nerve cells in the brain mainly for depression. However, recent studies show that TMS can cure a variety of mental disorders including addiction.
How does it work?
In this procedure, the electromagnetic coil is placed on the scalp of the patient near the forehead. The electromagnet delivers a magnetic pulse to stimulate nerve cells in the brain that involves regularization of the mood control and depression. TMS activates this region of the brain to reduce the activity associated with depression. It sends stimulation effects in the part of the brain linked with treating depression and mood improvement.
Treatment of depression is through repetitive magnetic pulse called r TMS or TMS. Depression is well treatable but a lot of people failed to achieve success using conventional medical treatments and therapies. TMS, on the other hand, is an effective alternative treatment for depression with fewer or no relapse at all. Unlike the other procedures including nerve stimulation or deep brain stimulation, TMS is a non-invasive and non-systemic treatment. As a non-systemic procedure, it does not cause any side effects of seizures or any sedation with anesthesia.
Patients with melancholic depression can also benefit from TMS. There are several studies suggesting on how to use TMS on specific disorders. Multicenter studies on efficacy for 6 weeks will test whether a longer period of stimulation is more effective in a controlled setting. While another research shows that a right-sided stimulation is more effective.
What to expect in a TMS session?
This medical procedure uses an electromagnetic coil extends with a high-intensity current that turned on and off in the coil through the discharge of a capacitor. This is a time-varying a magnetic field which lasts for about 100 – 200 microseconds. The strength is about 1.5 to 2 Tesla at the surface of the coil.
Healthcare professional conducts TMS as an outpatient basis in a clinic and it requires a series of treatment sessions to become more effective and preferably within five times a week for about four to six weeks. The attending doctor will conduct the procedure in the best place. Pacing the magnet on the head and best dose of magnetic energy will be given. Upon the first session of appointment, the patient will be placed in a treatment area where there is a wearing of earplugs, an electronic coil will also be placed in the forehead and switches off and repeated to produce stimulating pulses.
The tapping of the sounds will last in a few seconds and then pause for a while, the feeling sensation on the forehead called mapping. Doctors will then determine the right amount of magnetic energy that patients needed.
During the actual treatment, once a coil is placed on the forehead and dose is identified, now ready to start the procedure. Once settled in a comfortable chair wearing earplugs and the magnetic coil placed, health care professionals will turn the machine on. The patients will then hear a clicking sound or feel a light tapping on their forehead. The procedure will last about 40 minutes, patients will remain wide awake and alert the entire session. Patients may feel some mild discomfort during the treatment within the first week but will ultimately subside afterward.
The preparation of TMS should always be observed before applying to patients. TMS treatment is not for everyone, although relatively safe, there are pre-medical evaluation and tests. These include the following:
- Physical examination and doing laboratory tests or any other tests required to make sure that the r TMS is safe and in normal,
- have a psychiatric assessment to evaluate the mood of depression,
- any metal or implanted medical device in the body in some patients or people with metal implant device can have the procedure and due to strong magnetic field
Furthermore, it is recommended for the following persons who have aneurysm clip or coil, stents, implanted stimulators, implanted vagus nerve or deep brain stimulators, electrodes for brain monitoring, implanted electrode device such as a pacemaker, medication pump, and bullet fragments to undergo TMS.
After TMS treatment
After treatment, normal activities or daily works are normal once the patient was treated, such as driving and working in the offices and others. May different ways to perform its techniques may vary according to the studies for more effectiveness.
TMS effectiveness in depressed patients takes about several weeks of treatment depending upon the cooperation of each patient. Symptoms will drastically improve during and even after treatments. There are no significant signs of relapse. When undergoing the procedure, it involves continuing treatment until patients are symptom-free with the hope that will prevent relapses.
Depression improves clinically proven with TMS and if there is an episode or return of symptom it can be repeated again called re-induction. All the procedures and management will become helpful for the intervention to prevent and detect the depression or any other mood disorders.
Nothing says “something is wrong with your body” like pain. This primal sensation is what has kept us alive as a species and the brain does what it can to ensure that we feel them properly. Our nerves do a great job of delivering messages to the brain to make sure we are aware that something is damaged.
That’s not always the case though. Nerve and brain damage can sometimes cause the brain to feel pain even though nothing is particularly wrong with the area. One of these cases of chronic pain is called Neuropathy.
Neuropathy and Pain
There are many cases of Neuropathy and other chronic pain issues. But the most common reason why it happens is due to nerve damage, or issues with the way the brain perceives pain. There are treatments for these, including drugs such as antidepressants, anticonvulsants, and opioid-type pain relievers. These treatments are proven to work time and time again, but like all drugs, they have their own share of issues and drawbacks. One such drawback is toxicity due to constant exposure to the drugs. There’s also nerve surgery which is effective, but is invasive and could cut a deep hole in your pocket unless you have really good insurance.
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation: Old Tech, New Ways
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation has been used decades ago, but not as a form of treatment. TMS was used as a way to map out brain damage and function in stroke patients and patients who suffered head trauma. Recent discoveries in brain function revealed that activating parts of your brain using electromagnetic pulses can “train” it to function better, or at least back to normal.
TMS is basically putting a magnet over your head and using that magnet. The magnet delivers electromagnetic pulses to your brain. The cells of your brain react to these electromagnetic waves. They activating them as if the brain itself commanded them to. The process harmless and adverse effects are both rare and conditional. These effects included motion sickness or chronic migraines. The procedure lasts for 30-60 minutes. These are done daily for 4-6 weeks, but some programs may differ in frequency.
Promising TMS Treatments for Chronic Pain
There are few approved TMS therapies for chronic pain. Progress is increasingly good. Clinical trials with large sample groups have shown that the therapy causes an analgesic effect that gives temporary relief from chronic pain. Further clinical trials explored different frequencies and methods on a multitude of patients. These revealed that electromagnetic stimulation not only creates an analgesic effect but also “train” parts of the brain to adjust to the pain caused by Neuropathy. This could lead to more permanent ways to reduce the pain, or even lead to curing it.
People who suffer from depression due to their chronic pain issues will find themselves relieved of the depression as well. TMS deep brain stimulation can help the brain generate dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter or brain chemical responsible for happiness. Solving depression and relieving pain using a non-invasive, non-health-detrimental procedure ought to cause a euphoria more rewarding than any drug.