There are many possible benefits of TMS therapy. Researchers are still studying the procedure, but it may help the following conditions:
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) therapy for depression
Clinical TMS is FDA approved and broadly used to treat major depressive disorder (MDD), also referred to as just depression.
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) for chronic pain
TMS could potentially improve chronic pain conditions, such as fibromyalgia. A 2017 analysis shares that it may help by stimulating the motor cortex and controlling neurotransmitters involved in pain.
It’s worth noting that depression and chronic pain often occur together. Depression can worsen chronic pain, so TMS may help by treating depression symptoms.
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) therapy for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
TMS is investigated to improve symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
The US FDA approved TMS for used in OCD in 2018. Like with depression, TMS is recommended if a person with OCD hasn’t responded to medication and psychotherapy.
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) for nicotine addiction
Nicotine addiction occurs when an individual cannot stop using it. Nicotine is the chemical in tobacco that makes it hard to quit.
According to research studies, TMS could help reduce nicotine cravings by targeting the prefrontal cortex. The researchers suggest that TMS promotes the release of dopamine, which reduces the need for nicotine. TMS remains investigated for addiction.
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) therapy for anxiety disorders
Occasional anxiety is an expected part of life. But for a person with an anxiety disorder, the anxiety does not go away and can get worse over time. The symptoms can interfere with daily activities such as work, education, and relationships. There are types of anxiety disorder such as generalized anxiety disorder, panic and various phobias. TMS is investigated for benefit in anxiety disorders but this approach has not yet been approved by the FDA.
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
According to researchers, TMS showed effectiveness for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). As mentioned, TMS can target the prefrontal cortex, which regulates how you process fear and worry.
Some studies report that TMS alongside cognitive processing therapy was effective for PTSD. The therapeutic effect of this combination lasted for 6 months.
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) for stroke rehabilitation
A stroke occurs when a blood vessel in the brain flow in the brain is disrupted. A rupture or blockage prevents blood and oxygen from reaching the part of the brain which can lead to injury to those parts of the brain. After a stroke therapy focuses on recovering and lost function through neurorehabilitation, and TMS is thought to make neurorehabilitation more effective.
While, there is some evidence that TMS may help in recover after stroke (rehabilitation) but TMS remains investigated for stoke
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) for Parkinson’s disease
Parkinson's disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects predominately dopamine-producing (“dopaminergic”) neurons in a specific area of the brain called substantia nigra. Symptoms generally develop slowly over years.
There have been many clinical trials on TMS for Parkinson’s disease symptoms that are suggestive of benefit in some symptoms. However, the degree of benefit varies across studies and TMS techniques, and the evidence is incomplete.
Numerous studies testing TMS for Parkinson’s disease are ongoing, so the technique remains investigational. As an alternative FDA approved neuromodulation approach, albeit one that requires brain surgery, see Deep Brain Stimulation.
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) for Alzheimer’s disease
Alzheimer's is a type of dementia that affects memory, thinking and behavior. Symptoms eventually grow severe enough to interfere with daily tasks.
According to a 2020 scientific review:
“There is an urgent need to develop new, effective strategies in the battle against Alzheimer’s disease (AD). TMS has emerged as a promising possibility, but evidence regarding long-term efficacy and mechanism of action is limited… The challenges are great, but a path toward the rational application of rTMS and related modalities in AD has begun to emerge.”
As alternative forms for of neuromodulation Alzheimer’s disease, in the European Union Transcranial Acoustic Pulsed Stimulation (ultrasound) has been cleared for and transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) is investigated.
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) for multiple sclerosis
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an inflammatory demyelinating condition of the brain that is mostly considered to be autoimmune. No curative treatments are established, including TMS. Multiple Sclerosis is the most common autoimmune disorder which affects the central nervous system. As of 2008, approximately 2 million people around the world suffer from this condition.Numerous studies testing TMS for MS are ongoing, so the technique remains investigational.
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) for schizophrenia
Schizophrenia is a serious mental illness that interferes with a person’s ability to think clearly, manage emotions, make decisions and relate to others. It is a complex, long-term medical illness.
MS remains investigated for schizophrenia. According to a 2015 review:
“Based on this review, there is insufficient evidence to support or refute the use of TMS to treat symptoms of schizophrenia. Although some evidence suggests that TMS, and in particular temporoparietal TMS, may improve certain symptoms (such as auditory hallucinations and positive symptoms of schizophrenia) compared to sham TMS, the results were not robust enough to be unequivocal across the assessment measures used.”
The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.