Frequently Asked Questions About TMS Therapy

TMS Therapy (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation) is a non-invasive neuromodulation treatment that uses magnetic pulses of energy to specific areas of the patient’s brain that affect mood control. The use of these pulses is similar to that of an MRI machine. Delivered at repeated intervals, it is known at RTMS. It is delivered from an FDA cleared machine that is performed at the direction and supervision of a medical physician.

TMS therapy is used for “treatment resistant depression”. It is common for many patients who suffer from depression to be prescribed anti-depressants, mood- stabilizers or various forms of psychotherapy? Some patients do not fully respond to these options alone. That is when TMS therapy may be prescribed by a board certified psychiatrist. TMS therapy is used to augment these other prescribed medical therapies and improve the patient’s mood and overall health.

At Restore Brain, a TMS therapy session is less than 20 minutes and most insurance plans pay for 36 treatment days. We typically recommend 5 treatments a week for 7 weeks.

TMS is thought to produce changes in the activity of neurons of the limbic system, which is linked to mood regulation. The procedure consists of magnetic pulses inducing brain activity in the cells of that region. These pulses activate the limbic system cells to improve symptoms of depression. TMS is most often prescribed when other treatments for depression have not been effective.

Each patient responds differently to TMS therapy. As a result, some patients are early responders and others are “late bloomers”.  Typically, TMS patients gradually see a response as they continue each day in treatment. It is important for each patient to complete the full course of treatment to give the best chance of achieving the best results.

TMS is safe, painless, and has little-to-no side effects, ECT or electroconvulsive therapy requires general anesthesia which can carry some risk. With TMS therapy, patients can immediately resume activities like driving and physical exercise. With electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) patients require an extended recovery period and heightened risk of seizure and memory loss.

Many TMS patients experience an increase in mood, energy, and appetite, while also experiencing a reduction in anxiety. In clinical practice, nearly 70% of all patients respond to the treatment, and over 45% report remission of their depressive symptoms.

No. TMS therapy is fairly painless. However, some patients report mild headaches or scalp tenderness in the first treatments.   In these cases, a patient can pre-medicate with ibuprofen or acetaminophen prior to the treatment.

TMS can cause scalp tenderness during the treatment pulses but typically does not cause a lasting headache. For patients who are prone to headaches, a physician may recommend some ibuprofen or acetaminophen prior to treatments to prevent a headache.

Many TMS patients experience an increase in mood, energy, and appetite, while also experiencing a reduction in anxiety. In clinical practice, nearly 70% of all patients respond to the treatment, and over 45% report remission of their depressive symptoms.

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