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Relieving Chronic Pain With Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)

Over-the-counter medications. Prescription drugs. At-home remedies. Heat, ice, stretching, and everything else. If it’s purpo

Chronic pain is a worldwide epidemic, affecting 50 million adults in the United States alone. Pain arises from a variety of causes, including:

Millions of people turn to drugs every year for relief from chronic pain, while others try oodles of home remedies that never seem to do the job. 

At US Neuropathy Centers, we’re fond of scientifically proven pain-management treatments that don’t involve drugs, surgery, or questionable at-home concoctions. One such proven treatment is transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), a relatively new treatment that alters the way your brain processes pain signals. 

What is transcranial magnetic stimulation? 

TMS is a non-invasive procedure that stimulates nerve cells in the brain. Our team at US Neuropathy Centers — led by podiatrists Dr. Stephen Barrett and Dr. Sequioa DuCasse and by Dr. Larry Empting, our psychiatry and neurology specialist — performs TMS by attaching an electromagnetic coil to your scalp, usually near your forehead, though the placement might vary based on your pain and symptoms. 

The coil delivers a magnetic pulse through your skull and into your brain, targeting neuropathic pain receptors and disrupting pain signals. 

TMS was initially developed and used as a treatment for depression, but it has since spread as a treatment method for other mental health conditions (such as anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder), as well as chronic pain, because its effects are so profound. 

How does TMS relieve chronic pain? 

TMS essentially masks the pain signals that your nerves send to your brain. As electromagnetic pulses travel from the coil into your brain, they create a magnetic field of electrical currents that stimulate nerve cells in a particular region of your brain. In the case of chronic pain, that region is one with a high concentration of neuropathic pain receptors. 

The stimulation from the electrical currents disrupts the pain signals that your brain usually receives. If pain signals can’t reach your brain, you don’t feel pain. At first, you need consecutive treatments to reduce your pain (five days a week for four to six weeks), but over time, TMS treatments can actually produce long-lasting changes in brain activity, thus giving you long-lasting pain relief.   

Who is a good candidate for TMS?

We can help you determine whether TMS is the right treatment for you. To do so, we perform a comprehensive physical exam and consult with you about your medical history and current symptoms. 

TMS treatments are noninvasive and side effects are mild and rare, so most people with chronic pain can safely undergo TMS, unless you have metal in your head, such as a titanium fixation plate. 

To learn more about TMS treatments at US Neuropathy Centers, schedule a consultation today. Call one of our convenient Georgia locations or request an appointment online.

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