TMS Treatment

TMS Treatment

What is rTMS (repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation) Treatment?

rTMS stands for repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation. It is a non-invasive procedure that uses a magnetic field to stimulate nerve cells in the brain. It is used to treat a variety of neurological and psychiatric conditions, including depression, anxiety, and chronic pain.

During the procedure, a small magnetic coil is placed against the scalp near the area of the brain that is being targeted. The coil generates a magnetic field that causes small electrical currents to flow through the brain, which can stimulate or inhibit nerve cell activity.

rTMS treatment has been approved by several guidance and regulatory bodies, including the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in the UK, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States.

In the UK, NICE has recommended rTMS as a treatment option for certain individuals with treatment-resistant depression who have not responded to other treatments such as antidepressants. The recommendations state that rTMS should only be used in specialized centres that are equipped to provide the treatment and have appropriately trained staff.

How does rTMS work?

There are two main types of rTMS: high-frequency rTMS and low-frequency rTMS.

High-frequency rTMS is thought to stimulate nerve cells, while low-frequency rTMS is thought to inhibit nerve cell activity. The specific area of the brain that is targeted and the frequency and intensity of the magnetic field are adjusted to achieve the desired effects.

rTMS is believed to work by altering the activity of specific brain regions, which can lead to changes in the release of neurotransmitters, the chemicals that transmit signals between nerve cells. It is thought to affect the neural pathways that are involved in the regulation of mood, pain and other symptoms of neurological and psychiatric conditions.

It is important to note that the exact mechanism of how rTMS works is not fully understood, and more research is needed to fully understand the underlying mechanism.

What are the benefits of rTMS treatment?

rTMS is a non-invasive procedure that has been shown to have a number of potential benefits for people with certain neurological and psychiatric conditions, including:

  • Depression: rTMS has been shown to be an effective treatment for depression and has been approved by the NICE for this use. Studies have found that rTMS can reduce symptoms of depression in people who have not responded to other treatments.
  • Anxiety: rTMS has been used to treat a variety of anxiety disorders including generalized anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
  • Chronic pain: rTMS has been used to treat chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia and chronic headaches.
  • Neurological conditions: rTMS has been used to treat a range of neurological conditions such as Parkinson's disease, tinnitus, and stroke.
  • Addiction: rTMS has been used to treat addiction to substances such as alcohol and nicotine.
  • Other conditions: rTMS has also been used to treat other conditions such as autism, schizophrenia, and multiple sclerosis.

Overall, rTMS is a non-invasive treatment option that has been found to be safe and well-tolerated, with a low risk of side effects. It may be especially beneficial for people who have not responded to other treatments. It's important to note that more research is needed to fully understand the potential benefits of rTMS, and it is not a standalone treatment but rather an adjunctive treatment that work in combination with other treatments such as therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes.

rTMS treatment side effects

rTMS is generally considered a safe treatment option, with a low risk of serious side effects. However, as with any medical treatment, there are potential side effects that can occur with rTMS.

The most common side effects of rTMS are mild and temporary, such as:

  • Scalp discomfort or pain
  • Mild headache
  • Light-headedness
  • Tingling or twitching of the face or scalp
  • Slight hearing loss, usually temporary
  • Nausea

Less common side effects can include:

  • Seizures (although this is very rare)
  • Mania or hypomania (in people with bipolar disorder)
  • Changes in mood or behaviour
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Fatigue

It's important to note that these side effects are generally mild and temporary, and most people are able to continue with their normal activities immediately after the treatment. If side effects are severe or persistent, patients should contact their healthcare provider for advice.

Where is rTMS treatment available in London?

Dr Sivasanker works in the TMS service at the Priory Wellbeing Centre, Harley Street. For appointments and cost please contact Priory Wellbeing Centre

41 Harley Street, London, W1G 8QH

Call: 0207 079 0555


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