Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is an FDA-approved, noninvasive treatment that uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain. It is typically used to treat people with a mental health diagnosis, such as major depression or PTSD, when other treatments have not worked successfully.
TMS is an in-office procedure that has been clinically proven to help patients suffering from a variety of mental health conditions, including treatment-resistant depression, anxiety, PTSD, OCD, and other brain health issues. The treatment can also be used to enhance brain function and to give up smoking. TMS may be considered when standard treatments such as medications and psychotherapy do not work successfully.
How TMS Works
TMS is a noninvasive and painless procedure that involves placing a specially designed electromagnetic coil against the scalp near the forehead. The device delivers short pulses of magnetic energy to stimulate nerve cells in the area of the head where it will provide the greatest benefit – the prefrontal cortex.
Although it is not completely understood how TMS works, stimulation appears to produce changes in nerve cell activity in the prefrontal cortex, which is the area of the brain responsible for mood regulation and decision-making. Certain mental health conditions, particularly depression, are thought to decrease nerve cell activity. As the device delivers each magnetic pulse, which passes through the skull into the brain, it stimulates short-term brain cell activity in the area directly under the device – the prefrontal cortex.
TMS requires a course of treatment sessions to be effective, and it has been found to provide patients with long-term results, reducing or preventing the need for other types of treatment.
What Happens During Treatment?
During the first therapy session, the physician will take several measurements to ascertain the best dose of magnetic energy for you and to ensure that the device is properly positioned over the correct area. To do this, the device is placed against the head and turned off and on repeatedly to produce stimulating pulses. The pulses create a brief tapping sound and sensation on the forehead. This is the mapping part of the process.
To determine the amount of magnetic energy needed to stimulate brain cells, several brief pulses are administered. The dose is increased gradually until there is a twitch response in the thumb or fingers, known as the motor threshold, which can vary between individuals. This helps the physician personalize the treatment settings. Progress, tolerance, and mood will be evaluated at each session, and if necessary, the amount of stimulation can be changed during the course of treatment.
Side Effects of TMS
The treatment is considered well-tolerated, with few side effects and no downtime required after each session. Treatment is painless but a clicking sound can be heard along with a slight tapping sensation on the head. Some patients may experience headaches, but these are generally mild and diminish over the course of the treatment. Other side effects can include tingling and scalp discomfort, but these should improve shortly after treatment.
Getting the Most from TMS
To get the most out of TMS, a series of treatment sessions is required. Treatments are usually carried out daily, five times a week for approximately six weeks, but this can vary depending on the individual’s response to treatment. The first session may last up to an hour, while the device placement and dose are identified, but on average, future appointments usually last 15-20 minutes.
After three weeks of treatment, the provider will review progress and make any adjustments to the treatment protocol. TMS is considered a very effective treatment with lasting effects. Many patients find that their symptoms improve or go away completely within a few weeks of treatment. Some people may benefit from a repeated TMS treatment in the future, if they experience a resurgence of symptoms, known as re-induction.
TMS Therapy in Denver and Lakewood, CO
If you are considering TMS therapy, contact Denver Wellness Associates for expert care. We use state-of-the-art CloudTMS and MagVenture transcranial magnetic stimulation equipment to ensure you get the best results.
To learn more about TMS or any of our other services, call or text us at (720) 724-3668, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or request your appointment online. For your convenience, we have two office locations to serve you, in Denver and Lakewood, Colorado.