More than 14 million American adults suffer from clinical depression. According to researchers, by the year 2020, depression will be the second leading cause of disability in the world. Around two-thirds of people suffering from depression will have another episode of the illness during their lifetime. Existing treatment options often lead to severe side effects. In time these medications will lose their effectiveness in treating depression. These will eventually lead to a lack of adequate treatment options.
What is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation or TMS?
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation or TMS is a newly found advance treatment for resistant depression. The US Food and Drug Administration of FDA approved TMS for clinical depression that can no longer treat with previous conventional antidepressant medications and therapies. Patients who suffer from drug-resistant treatments and medications can benefit well undergoing TMS therapy.
The medical community approved TMS because of its non-invasive procedure. TMS does not require any sedation, anesthesia on its depression treatment. It’s a simple procedure which conveniently performed right inside the doctor’s office under their supervision. Patients are kept awake and fully alert during each treatment sessions.
As a non-systemic and does not include heavy doses of drugs. Also, because TMS is a non-pharmaceutical therapy, it does not entail any drugs to circulate throughout the body. Since TMS does not involve any medical procedure or drugs, it does not have side effects associated with antidepressant medications like weight gain, nausea, sleepiness, memory loss, and sexual dysfunction.
Initially, TMS was used as depression treatment but recent studies show that this procedure can also treat different brain disorders. Doctors used TMS to treat a wide range of mental disorders like generalized anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), tinnitus and cognitive impairments.
Some of the benefits of TMS include:
TMS active a large area of the Prefrontal Cortex
TMS delivers highly focus magnetic field pulses to the prefrontal cortex of the brain – to stimulate the area of the brain associated with depression. The procedure produces short bursts of magnetic pulses through the scalp and it triggers the neurons locally as it targets the areas of the brain. The pulses which the TMS machine produces are similar to what the MRI imaging scan emits. As the TMS machine produces these pulses, it stimulates the deeper and broader area of the brain linked to depression.
An effective depression treatment
Many can attest to the excellent efficacy of TMS therapy. Several studies support the effectiveness of this state of the art technique. During the 4 to 8 weeks of TMS treatment phase, clinically depressed people show a promising recovery that persists into the long term. The success of TMS treatment grows steadily over the years as newer treatment parameters have been discovered along with strategic targeting in the brain’s area. Even for people who undergone electroconvulsive therapy or ECT, they show significant recovery from depression.
Shorter treatment time
The average treatment for TMS therapy lasts for about 4 to 8 weeks. During this time, patients can already notice great improvements in their overall well-being. Studies show that the improvements noted in the patient lasted for several years without any significant relapse. This saves a lot of time and money for both the providers and the patient. Compare to antidepressant medications and therapies, TMS offers a safe and effective treatment for depression.
Other Benefits of TMS
Unlike the conventional depression treatments, TMS therapy does not produce systemic side effects like sedation, nausea, weight gain, sexual dysfunction, dry mouth. There are no reports of either memory loss or inability to concentrate which are both links to antidepressants.
Several clinical trials show that TMS therapy is an effective and safe treatment for patients who do not respond to previous antidepressant medications. TMS therapy offers very few side effects which are generally well tolerated by most patients. The most common side effect of TMS includes a slight scalp irritation and mild headache during the first week of treatment but will eventually subside.
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.
It’s perfectly normal to feel anxious, especially during times of stress or tension, such as the brief moment when your boss contemplates just after you asked for a raise. Anxiety is our brain’s way of preparing itself for danger. Not exactly to combat it, but to ensure that if we ever fight, or flee, our body is ready to act as best as it can.
When a person starts to feel anxiety outside where they should, problems start to arise. When anxiety occurs outside normal circumstances, and happens for days, over a course of more than 6 months, it’s classified as a disorder. The medical disorder is known as Generalized Anxiety Disorder, GAD for short.
It’s generalized because it has a number of causes, some of them unique to the person. It causes restlessness, fatigue, irritability, sleeping issues, and concentration problems, all of which make a significant dent in a person’s quality of life. What’s worse is that GAD is often accompanied, or causes other mental complications like depression.
Treatment via drug therapy is the most common solution, with counseling or Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy being the go-to for long-term treatment and recession prevention.
One downside to the otherwise effective ways to treat GAD is the high costs and the possible adverse effects due to the medication. If a person has good health insurance, that can be mitigated somehow, but not everyone has it.
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation: A New Hope
As the procedure is called, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS for short) is a relatively novel way to treat anxiety disorders. TMS was already in use decades ago in order to map out brain function in stroke patients. They figured that since our brain cells respond to weak pulses of electromagnetism, it could be used to stimulate brain cells to restore their function.
The idea is simple. An electromagnet is placed on top of your head and a machine regulates the electricity flowing to the magnet, creating minute pulses of electromagnetism. The targeted area of the brain is affected by the waves and they activate or at least react to the stimulation. Like physical therapy on a newly recovered leg or arm, the procedure will “train” and “massage” the target area of the brain to work back to normal. These procedures normally last about an hour and are done daily for 4-6 weeks.
The magnetic pulses are set to a low frequency of 1 Hz. Think of this as music. Lower Hz is slow, calm music while higher ones are the intense, fast beats. The low “hum” causes an inhibitory effect on the brain, calming activity as if listening to calming soul music. The pulsing is then aimed at the area of the brain where the cause of GAD is identified, such as the left prefrontal cortex. (The area above your left eye.)
The inhibitory effects showed remarkable results in reducing anxiety. Clinical trials with different experiments show consistent positive results, especially with continued TMS therapy. Currently, the only way to get TMS treatment for GAD is participating in clinical trials, but with solid evidence of improvement on patients, it’s only a matter of time before it’s approved as a treatment method.
Our entire body is controlled by the Central Nervous System. Our nerves are sprawled all over our body, sending minute messages to other cells, making them act. It can be as simple as making muscle cells contract and expand, which is currently allowing your eyes to move and read this. Likewise, the network of nerves controls everything else that makes you tick.
They don’t always work the way they should. In some cases, your eyelids may twitch all of a sudden. This is due to a small deficiency in nutrients. Other times, you might wake up, but your entire body isn’t awake. This is called sleep paralysis and could have many causes.
In terms diseases that disrupt your body’s harmony with your brain, one example is Parkinson’s disease. The disease affects your nerves and Dopamine, the chemical in the brain responsible for “positive feelings” and the smooth function of your muscles.
With Parkinson’s disease, the nerves in your body responsible for making dopamine, break down. This causes issues with the way your nerves send signals to your muscles.
Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease
The symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease are as follows:
- Stiff muscles and joints.
- Slow muscular responses, or slow reflex.
- Difficulting in sustaining muscle tension, such as holding a glass of water.
- Problems with balance, such as walking or jumping.
No Known Cure
Parkinson’s Disease does not have a cure yet, nor do we know what directly causes it. What we know so far is what can affect it, and what’s common among people who have it. The effect is not immediate and will slowly progress as you age.
With the right treatment, people can live relatively good lives before the disease really sets in. In some cases though, the medication required for treatment could be incompatible with some people.
TMS to Treat Parkinson’s Disease
There is hope though, in the form of a non-invasive procedure known as Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation. The process is as simple as aiming an electromagnet on your head and sending a harmless pulse of electromagnetism. It may sound simple, but the implications are numerous. It has been used before as a way to make a functional map of the brain. TMS can also be used to map damage in the brain.
Now, it’s being used for the treatment of Severe Depression and Migraine. There are more conditions already in clinical trial, along with Parkinson’s Disease. What might be the best part of this is that TMS has very few side effects, especially when compared to traditional medication. Additionally, long-term side effects are practically nonexistent.
What makes TMS a hopeful treatment for Parkinson’s disease is TMS’s first intended use. TMS quickly became a way to map out the finer functions of our central nervous system. This allowed researchers to map out the “corticospinal system.” This system is what controls our movements, from the tiniest twitch to the strongest blows. They found out that stimulating regions of the corticospinal system improved motor functions.
Further Research Offers Real Hope
This allowed a better understanding of the disease, and stands as proof that TMS therapy could one day help people with Parkinson’s. Several clinical trials have found that TMS benefits parkinson’s patients and more studies are ongoing. Recent findings suggest that though they don’t have an established way to treat Parkinson’s, the information can guide current treatment decisions and pave the way for future research.
We know you have questions about TMS, how it works, whether it’s a good treatment option for you, and if your insurance will cover it. Contact us and we’ll be happy to help answer your questions and get you set up with your first appointment.
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is used for a variety of mental illnesses and mood disorders. It has a myriad of benefits for those who are suffering from depression. It is also worth looking into if prescription medications don’t work for you or a loved one.
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) Benefits
Below is a list of benefits you will receive from undergoing TMS:
- TMS, a relatively safe treatment, is well-tolerated and is best for those with depression.
- TMS allows you to have a medication-free alternative. There are little to no side effects with TMS. Other types of treatment such as medications can cause tiredness, memory loss, weight gain, upset stomach, and sexual problems, among others.
- Only few, light side effects are experienced with TMS. This includes mild discomfort in the area of the scalp where TMS is administered.
- TMS is a non-systemic type of therapy. The patient’s bloodstream is not affected in any way whatsoever.
- With TMS, the patient does not need to be hospitalized. There is no need for a long recovery time. In addition, there is a less of a financial burden since you don’t need to stay in the hospital for an extended period of time. A patient who has undergone TMS can immediately go home after the therapy.
- TMS is available for all people who are 18 years old and above.
- TMS currently is being researched for various uses. It is being researched as a treatment for diseases such as Stroke, Tinnitus, Parkinson’s Disease, and Pain.
- It is administered by certified TMS physicians and certified TMS technicians. Thus, the patient is assured of the efficiency of the entire procedure.
- There are TMS devices approved by the FDA. Thus you are sure the procedure is safe.
- TMS patients do not require anesthetic procedures before the actual process is done. Thus, risk of cardiac or respiratory arrest is not present.
- Memory loss is not a side effect of TMS. This is as opposed to electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) which can cause both short-term and long-term memory loss.
- It improves motor symptoms in patients who have Parkinson’s Disease (PD)
TMS can’t be given to patients who have metal objects in their heads. Similarly, patients who have metallic ink tattoos and tattoos that respond to magnetic forces are not allowed to undergo TMS. Those who have dental fillings or braces can undergo TMS.
TMS is a procedure with a lot of benefits. It can be used to treat a variety of disorders. If you are suffering from a particular type of disorder or mental illness, you should contact a certified professional regarding TMS. You don’t have to get bogged down by serious side effects caused by prescription medications. You can try TMS as an alternative or a supplement to your current therapy.
For more information on TMS, visit or contact TMS of the Palm Beaches here. Contact us today!
Depression is a major epidemic not only in the U.S. but globally as well. It has debilitated many of the people who have this condition. These people cannot properly perform daily tasks due to clinical depression. This often leads to serious financial, relationship, business, and work consequences.
A lot of treatments have been developed for depression. These include counselling, physiotherapy, prescribed medications, and even natural, holistic therapies. But, one effective way to manage and treat depression is called the Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation System (TMS System). It is more often referred to simply as TMS.
What Is A Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation System (TMS System)?
The TMS system is a comprehensive procedure of stimulating specific brain regions. During these procedures, a coil is placed near the patient’s head. Through electromagnetic induction, the coil undergoes through the production of small electric currents to stimulate targeted regions of the brain. A stimulator (or pulse generator) is linked to the coil. The stimulator is used to deliver its electric current for stimulation.
TMS is usually utilized for measuring brain and muscle connection. This measure is used to evaluate damage from movement disorders, stroke, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and motor neuron diseases. It is also used to measure the damage from the spinal cord and facial and cranial nerves.
What Are The Benefits Of TMS?
TMS is a non-invasive procedure used to treat depression. The only FDA-cleared and FDA-approved brand is NeuroStar TMS Therapy. Below are the benefits you can gain from using this system:
- It is an effective treatment for patients who do not satisfactorily respond to prior antidepressant medications.
- It has an impressive result in clinical trials. 50% of patients had major improvements with regards to their symptoms. Plus, 33.33% of clients experienced complete resolution of their symptoms.
- It doesn’t result to certain side effects common in other types of therapy. These side effects include nausea, dry mouth, sedation, sexual dysfunction, and weight gain. This leads to increased patient comfort and disposition. And it further provides significant patient improvement exponentially.
- It has a higher benefit/ risk ration in comparison to other alternatives (e.g. prescription medications).
- People who undergo the TMS system are associated with less use of drugs, doctor visits, and hospitalizations.
- It is a non-invasive procedure. Patients do not undergo anesthesia, surgery, or any type of sedation.
- TMS results to less magnetic exposure compared to patients who undergo MRI.
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation System is great for those who have clinical depression. The only side effect of this system is a mild discomfort in the scalp or area of the head stimulated by the coil. Seizures are rarely associated with patients using this therapy as well.
If you have a friend or a family member who experiences major debilitating depression, TMS can be an option. It is best to talk to your doctor (or any professional) in order to know the eligibility for TMS therapy. If you want to know more information regarding TMS therapy, contact us with any questions or to make an appointment.