Interested in learning what Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) therapy is and what conditions it treats? Here we’ll explore how doctors are using TMS therapy to alleviate various neurological and psychiatric conditions and patient symptoms.
How does TMS therapy work?
TMS therapy emerged in the late 1980s. Since, it has gained recognition as an effective, well-tolerated and non-invasive procedure for the brain conditions. TMS uses “magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain.” In 2008, the U.S. FDA approved TMS therapy for the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD) in patients who did not respond to antidepressant medications.
Over the years, rearchers continue to explore TMS therapy as a potential treatment for more conditions. These include anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Bipolar disorder, Chronic pain, and tinnitus.
Since its introduction, different types of TMS devices have been developed to distribute the pulses differently for specific uses. Repetitive TMS (rTMS) delivers repeated magnetic pulses to the brain. Deep TMS (dTMS) targets deeper brain structures. These advancements have allowed for more precise and targeted stimulation. Researchers are also investigating how TMS improves symptoms when coupled with other therapies like mindfulness, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), and pharmacotherapy.
TMS therapy for anxiety, OCD, depression, and more
More recently, researchers and doctors have been able to prove the efficacy of TMS for not only a variety of mental health issues, but other neurological conditions, as well.
- Doctors are using TMS therapy for spinal cord injury (SCI) patients, too. When combined with peripheral nerve stimulation, chronic tetraplegia patients showed “enhanced hand motor output.” Repetitive TMS has also helped improve their muscle stiffness and decrease involuntary muscle contractions. Patients with incomplete SCI also showed better control and coordination of their movements of lower and upper extremity muscles.
- Findings from a 2022 study on post-stroke patients showed that rTMS coupled with mindfulness-based stress reduction, it was very successful in enhaning a patients’ mental health. They also found it “delayed the development of cognitive impairment” when suffering from post-stroke depression.
- In 2022, one study explored how theta burst stimulation (TBS), a type of TMS, aided generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). They found that TBS was well-tolerated and showed promise in reducing anxiety symptoms in patients with GAD.
- Another study from 2022 found that rTMS was an effective treatment for reducing symptoms of OCD.
- A 2020 study found that TMS had a significant antidepressant effect and provided evidence for “the consideration of non-surgical brain stimulation techniques as alternative or add-on treatments for adults with major depressive episodes.”
These ongoing findings support how effective TMS therapy is. While TMS therapy has shown promise as a treatment option for certain conditions, it may not be suitable or effective for everyone. Consulting with a healthcare professional is essential to determine the appropriateness of TMS therapy for an individual’s specific needs. If you’re interested in how TMS therapy can work for you, contact us to discuss your treatment options.