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Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation


Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation is an FDA approved intervention for Treatment Resistant Major Depression.  The device works through creating a magnetic field that induces a small and localized electric field in the human cortex.  

Unlike ECT, or electroconvulsive therapy, which induces a generalized seizure, TMS works by getting specific areas of the brain to fire.  People suffering from depression tend to have lowered activity in a specific area of the brain we target through TMS.  This area, the Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex (DLPFC), is stimulated with the magnet which induces firing.  

This treatment is helpful for depression due to "plasticity" or neuronal "potentiation."  Essentially when neurons fire more they get easier to fire due to changes at the synapse.  People with depression have improvement with symptoms of depression when the DLFPC is easier to fire.  

The treatment is titrated to tolerability but is not usually painful.  Most agree with the description of the feeling as "annoying" or "like a woodpecker that isn't really there."  Treatments last from 2-3 minutes up to 20 minutes depending on the prescribed protocol.  Treatments usually given every weekday for 2-6 weeks.  Benefits generally last well beyond end of treatment.  

Side effects from TMS are minimal and very rarely serious.  

Most insurances cover TMS treatment for severe depression if 1 previous medication has been tried without success.  

TMS is effective for other targets as well which often produce great results.  Below is a list of indications for which TMS has data to support efficacy.

  • Fibromyalgia

  • Alcohol Dependence 

  • Nicotine Addiction

  • Dystonia and Dyskinesia related to Parkinson's Disease

  • Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

  • OCD

  • Neuropathic Pain

  • Negative Symptoms related to Schizophrenia 

  • Auditory Hallucinations related to Schizophrenia

  • PTSD

  • Tinnitus 

  • ADHD

  • Migraine Headaches

  • Alsheimer's Disease 

more useful info can be found at the device manufacture's website: 

An FDA cleared TMS machine for the rest of us (

Please give us a call if you'd like more information.  


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